National Geographic : 1942 Feb
Life with an Indian Prince Bapa Calls His Tercel to the Lure He swings a lure at the end of a short stick. The tercel, or male peregrine, stoops, but the bait is jerked away before the bird can strike. After 40 or 50 attempts, the tercel is permitted to strike and bring the lure to the ground. This ends the lesson, and the falcon is hooded and fed (opposite page). Soon it was Bapa's turn, and as his men routed out a hare two saker falcons were re leased. The sakers stooped, struck, and rose; first one attacked and then the other as the scared hare twisted and dodged amid the thorny cover. Again and again the sakers struck at the hare, but he finally reached safety behind the mud walls of a village. This had been a long chase; the men were scattered and all of us were tired from running. A wave of the hand from His Highness sent a man off across the fields and soon our cars raced across country to meet us. Beneath the shade of mango trees we had breakfast. Curious but respectful cultivators gathered to watch us. Shyly the hard-working subjects paid their respects to His Highness while he questioned them about their farming problems. The score now stood: Bapa, seven par tridges, one hare; Nanabhai, three hares. The goshawks were fed, their hunting over, for now Bapa's prize luggar falcon was to be flown. Until Bapa's time no one succeeded in flying the sluggish luggar falcon at partridge. But the drugs administered the night before worked miracles on this desert falcon that normally preys on lizards, mice, and small birds (page 259). Up she "rung" (i.e., rose spirally) and for 25 minutes circled above Bapa's head as if controlled by Indian magic. This type of flight is termed "waiting on," for the bird flies above her master waiting for game to be sprung. Although hundreds of feet above us, she never strayed and never "checked" after other game while we beat the bushes for partridge. A Sky Robber Crashes the Party When a partridge flushed, the luggar banked into a vertical stoop, dropped like a bomb, and struck her fleeing quarry a terrific blow. Her wings open, the luggar zoomed upward to check her speed.