How sensational has this week been?!
The much-anticipated launch of The Country Girls UK has sparked excitement throughout the country community all over the UK and it certainly did not disappoint! I am thrilled to be writing this guest blog for such an amazing, friendly, and helpful group.
Not only has it been an exciting week for the country girls, but I too have also had a great week with my first committee meeting in my new role as Social Media Coordinator of The Female Falconer’s Club. A group that shares a similar goal; to connect, educate and give women the confidence to follow their passion.
I will start by introducing myself. I am Jordanna, based in the Lincolnshire countryside, founder of The Nottinghamshire Ladies Gun Club and currently trying to ignore the fact that I am nearly 30. Something I like to refer to as the quarter-life crisis!
I have had a relatively normal childhood, if you class Goshawk chicks covering our living room floor and talk of insemination at the dinner table normal. Coming from a big falconry family, it has been at the forefront of my life since as far back as I can remember. In fact, it would not surprise me if my first word had been Hawk. My Dad lives and breathes falconry and has grown a high-class reputation in the last 25 years, breeding some of the best hunting falcons in the world (and boy has he worked hard!).
These falcons are bred from the finest bloodlines and every effort goes into them right from initial breeding to shipping them to their destination. Often this is the Middle East with falconry being of great significance to the Emirati culture. Remaining a popular sport in modern times and with the tradition being passed down through the generations, falconry had primarily been used for hunting which dates back thousands of years, a signifier of nobility and courage. A feeling that still does not go unnoticed when visiting the UAE.
Breeding is more than just a full-time job and during the breeding season, it is a rarity if my parents get to leave the facility for more than an hour, with a lot of it being done via artificial insemination. Much to the amusement of my fellow students who used to shout ‘get ya sex hat out’ across the classroom back when I was at school. A sex hat?…wait what?
A copulation hat as it is actually called is made out of latex and consists of a number of indents which aid in collecting semen. Worn by my Dad, or the other workers at the farm who have struck up a particular bond with a male taking on the role as ‘human mate,’ will have the falcon copulate on the hat, in which semen can then be collected to inseminate a female. I have made this sound a lot simpler than it is, taking out the hard work that goes into each and every raptor.
Long before it was Alwatha Falcons, it was a small family business in Derbyshire, where my Dad worked as a milkman, with birds only being a side job. (far before the stresses of a large breeding facility took over). A time where we spent the summers travelling the UK Game Fairs, my Dad doing the falconry displays, a pure passion that was hard to ignore. He gave me my first bird when I was around 5, a barbary called Barney. I loved him.
Every year since then, I have assisted during the breeding season, from inseminations to imprinting youngsters and it was this experience that has pointed me towards a career direction. At the beginning of this year, I had planned to put my degree to use and embark on a career within avian and canine research. I love science and wanted to find that career you strive to get out of bed for in the morning. As with most things this year, it has taken a back seat.
With this pause in my career, I intend to continue learning more and throw myself into my new appointed position and help women who share this same passion have the confidence and knowledge to start their own adventure. Growing up in a relatively male-dominated sport, the influx of female falconer’s over the last few years has been a refreshing and inspiring sight to many and we see the numbers increasing year by year. The Female Falconer’s Club is inclusive to all skill levels, ages and abilities and we are here to promote good practice, educate and support, so if you have an interest in falconry or the club and would like to know more, please do not hesitate to send me a message.
Written by Jordanna Kane