The Tenth Annual Archives of Falconry’s Spring Rendezvous will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Please note that, once again, this is not the first Saturday in March as had been traditional. Last year we had to move the event to the second Saturday due to heavy hotel bookings. Attendees preferred the change. The Oxford Suites will once again be the hotel for the banquet and will have discounted rooms. Click here for details about inductees, schedule, guest speakers and accommodations.
*Jimmy C. Adamson (CA/ID)
Robert (Bob) J. Anderson (MN/IA)
Stan Marcus (MI)
*John Henry McCabe (WA D.C.)
Stanley T. Palmer (NV)
Melissa (Missi) Rogers (MT)
Kenny Sterner (IL/ID/WY)
Lynn R. Straight (CA)
* may defer to 2017 to accommodate friends & family
Once again, over 175 people attended the ceremony at the Archives on March 12th, with approximately 150 attending the evening banquet. The event was memorable, not only because of the touching words spoken on behalf of the eight honorees but also due to unveiling of a recently acquired George Lodge painting of an American goshawk. The stories and tributes to the honorees were emotional and respectful. This year we added a screen on which images of the inductees were projected to assist each speaker. All appreciated this additional feature. The banquet presentation on kestrels by Dr. Chris McClure of the Peregrine Fund was especially interesting. The audience was completely engaged and asked experienced probing questions because most audience members had flown a kestrel during their falconry carriers. All are concerned about the nationwide decline of the kestrel. Bryce Robinson’s presentation on gyrfalcons breeding season diet was equally informative. His motion-activated eyrie camera captured a night image of the female gyr transferring a small downy eyas with her beak to an alternate nest. The adults had nested on a cliff using an old raven’s stick nest. An unknown predator had torn into the nest and the other chicks disappeared. The female moved the surviving chick approximately 50-75 yards away. This is an exciting discovery with will be published in the coming months.
Over 175 people attended the ceremony at the Archives on March 7th, with approximately 160 attending the evening banquet. Many commented that this was the “best” one to date. The event was memorable, not only because of the touching words spoken on behalf of the honorees but also due to the unveiling of the newly acquired Fuertes painting. The stories and tributes to the honorees were emotional, respectful, and humorous. Mr. Oscar Ruiz of Nevada spoke about his longtime hawking partner and friend, Dave Alexander. Oscar set the tone for the afternoon with his anecdotes and in so doing, let everyone know it was okay to laugh – and laugh they did. Many speakers followed suit – to the point that some were laughing so hard they nearly fell off their chairs! Family members told “living with a falconer” stories to an audience filled with similar experiences. The laughter was revealing – especially to the falconers in attendance!
The Archives acquisition of the Fuertes painting was an important moment in North American falconry history. Prior to the 1920s, Luff Meredith, “The Father of North American Falconry”, was one of the very few falconers in the United States. In 1920, Louis Agassiz Fuertes, a non-falconer, wrote an excellent, thoroughly researched article on falconry for the National Geographic magazine. Fuertes included diagrams, his own art, and photographs. This issue is a collector’s item today.
The publication of Fuertes piece inspired young people across the country to take up falconry. Such notable lifelong falconers as Al Nye, the Craigheads and Tom Cade got their inspiration from this article. Luff Meredith read the article too and loved its artwork. Fuertes was widely regarded as the new Audubon at the time and his artwork continues to command high prices to this day. Meredith was a graduate of West Point and became a pilot in the Army Air Corps during WWI. He wrote to Fuertes and commissioned him to create a painting of a stooping peregrine to be used as the “nose art” on the planes in his bomber squadron. Upon leaving the military temporarily between the wars, Meredith retained the painting as it was his personal property. Many falconers viewed it as it hung in Meredith’s various homes as he moved across the country. After his death, the original became separated from Meredith’s immediate family. Its whereabouts were unknown for over 35 years. In early summer 2014, Luff’s son, Bill, located the original rolled up in a storage closet of a distant family member. He generously donated this valuable original work to The Archives of Falconry. At the dedication and unveiling ceremony held as a part of the 2015 Rendezvous, Bill commented that the painting “belongs here.” We will be forever grateful to Mr. Bill Meredith and his family for his extraordinary generosity and remarkable efforts to get this historically significant painting to the Archives. Thank you Bill!