City Falcon Release Day – Falconry History and Trivia Quiz

August 26, 2011

When I first mentioned to a friend of mine that I was  writing a contemporary novel about a falconer, she was like “Huh, what? I thought falconry was something they did back in the Dark Ages. You’re doing a time travel thing, aren’t you?” (obviously she didn’t know me very well…)

Okay, to list “hawking” as one’s hobby on a facebook profile may look a bit odd, but you can trust me – the ancient art and sport of hunting with birds of prey is very much alive these days.  For example, in the United States there are an estimated 4000 active falconers with roughly 5000 birds; in other countries, the figures are much higher, namely in the Middle Eastern regions.

Even though professionals like “my” falconer may be the exception today, there are people all over the world who still make a living out of their birds. Modern falconers are environmentalists, scientists, farmers, hunters, performers or simply ordinary people who dedicate a big portion of their spare time to the care and handling of those amazing animals – simply for the joy of seeing them fly.

Falconry is estimated to date back as early as 3000 BC in the steppe regions of Asia; the first physical evidence are Assyrian bas-reliefs from the 9th century BC. While in those early days hunting with raptors was certainly more a necessity than a sport, much like it is until today in some regions of Mongolia and the Middle East, falconry became a popular sport and pastime in Western Europe between 500 and 1600 AD, much like golf is today. It was so common that almost any given historical figure of this time period had something to do with falconry.

No wonder that something this popular took an influence on the general population, even if it were mostly the members of nobility who had the means and time to engage in this exclusive sport.  But would you guess that falconry-related terms and sayings have stood the test of time and are still alive in modern English? If you don’t believe me, take the quiz below. (and win a signed paperback copy or a free ebook copy of City Falcon or any one other ebook of your choice from Dreamspinner’s catalogue if you get it right – the winners will be chosen randomly among all correct answers; winner’s names will be posted next week here on the blog and on my goodreads blog). You can mail your answers  to

Do you know…

1. A word meaning “deceived” that comes from a common pratice to calm falcons: a) beguiled, b) hoodwinked, c) bamboozled, d) double-crossed

2. A word meaning “to entice”  that comes from a training practice for falcons (one word)

3. A phrase that mean “finished with due to frustration”, originally applied to a falcon who had just eaten and didn’t feel like hunting (two words)

4. A word for “alcoholic beverage” that was originally used to describe a falcon’s way of drinking: a) hooch, b)booze, c) toddy, d) tipple

5. An expression for “overeat” that comes from watching falcons eat their prey: a) stuff, b) binge, c) gorge, d) cram

6. Which Toyota model was named after a male falcon? a) Prius, b) Tercel, c) Camry, d)Yaris

7. What do Arabic falcon lovers appreciate most in their falcons? What do they pay the highest prizes for? a) sound health b) amazing hunting skills c) flawless pedigree d) white feathering

Happy playing everybody!

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