Along the docks of Genoa’s Old Port last Sunday there was an unusual gathering of people. Intrigued, we approached and saw that aboard three sailboats a falconry display was being prepared in the open sea. Just before they dropped their moorings, we asked the crews to send us photos and videos once they were offshore.
Protagonists of the unique performance, called the “Falcon Sailing Experience” Francesca Biasia, a veterinarian by profession and falconer by passion, who runs a raptor breeding center in Cambiago (Milan), and the La Spezia-based skipper Fausto Omoboni: and of course the stars, Two buzzards, one male and one female, who flew professionally from boat to boat once offshore.
Falconry and boating. It would seem to be the title of an unlikely magazine, such as the famous “Horses & Hounds” Hugh Grant claimed to work for in the film “Nottingh Hill.” But in reality raptors and boats are not as far apart as they might seem. Hawks and buzzards are used in harbors (as well as at airports, as an alternative to the environmentally unfriendly butane cannonballs) as “guardians” against gulls and other species that nest on sailboat masts.
Here, in photos and videos, are the adventures of the two “sailing” buzzards.