Case Studies


In 2001 the falconer behind Staffordshire Gamehawks acquired a tiercel from the same parents as the 1999 falcon, ‘Sasquatch’. Like his sister ‘Bubble’ was larger than average being 30oz out of the pen with a small crop and food in his stomach. Although taken slightly earlier than the conventional age for chamber-reared peregrines at 7½ weeks he proved difficult to man and his weight had to be cut below 22oz but once in the air he soon showed his stuff. After an extended period of kiting him up to moderate heights he was shown partridges and his pitches were regularly between 400ft and 600ft during October and November. By the end of the season he was regularly mounting to over 1000ft and even put a couple of redlegs into the bag! During his second season he was making out of sight pitches by the end of September and even when his weight was raised to 27oz in order to curb his interest in pigeons he was still generally mounting to over 800ft. In his third season he began taking a good number of partridges as his weight was reduced to 23-25oz and he was mostly settling into regular pitches of 500-800ft whilst still taking the odd out of sight pitch on occasion. In his fourth season he was allowed out on loan from November until mid January and introduced to ducks which he took to well. There then followed a year off from hawking as an attempt was made to turn him into a voluntary semen donor. He would actually mount the hat but couldn’t be persuaded to donate so returned to duck hawking for the 2006/7 season. Bubble then became part of a breeding project where he fathered 9 youngsters in three years - amongst them were high-flying gamehawks 'Aero' & 'Marnie' - before returning to hawking for a short season on ducks in his eleventh season where he continued from where he’d left off – making good to high pitches and killing mallards with 5 years between kills! At the end of that, his final season in the field, he became part of the Staffordshire Gamehawks breeding project where in 2013 he produced 'Sprite' - a high-flying tiercel in his third pairing before being paired with current partner, 'Fidget'. He died in August 2023 aged 22 years.


In 2007, in his first year as a natural breeder, Bubble filled two out of three clutches of eggs with an older, more experienced falcon. Alas only one out of the seven eggs was to hatch and ‘Aero’ was the result. An average-sized tiercel he was raised by a merlin and taken up at 6 weeks of age as further experiments in early-taking continued. Little or no formal manning was required and training was commenced almost immediately. He was very precocious when put onto the kite and was soon climbing over 1500ft to it. By the time the kite was removed he still climbed to over 1200ft just out of habit and although only 25oz (empty) out of the pen he was introduced to put-down mallards and would take them at weights up to 24oz! At the end of his first season formal grey partridge hawking had commenced and his proper winter weight was found to be 21-22oz. Over 4 seasons of hawking (mostly ducks) he showed that he could mount high and take on huge drake mallards with no sign of loss of interest. The downside was that because of the early removal from his foster-parent and being raised alone he exhibited some bad manners of mantling and being vocal. Sadly, due to telemetry receiver failure he had to be left out overnight in extreme temperatures of 10F in early January 2011 and was picked up dead the next day.



In 2008 Bubble produced two tiercels and three falcons - the smallest of which came to be called ‘Marnie’. She weighed 33oz empty out of the pen at 7 weeks of age and ended up flying at 28-29½oz. She had a lovely temperament like her brother of the previous year and was a quick study in terms of getting her loose to the kite. Unfortunately that year was one of the calmest on record which meant that Marnie didn’t get enough flying during the regular season. Nevertheless when the kite was removed well after the season was over in early March 2009 it was well worth the wait as she bolted off the fist and began climbing in earnest. After 3 minutes she was at 700ft and still climbing but getting a little too wide so she was brought down to a duck carcass. The following season she was brought on slowly by mixing kiting with flights at put-down ducks until by the season’s end she was reliably waiting-on at 500-900ft and was ready for wild ducks. On the last day but one of the 2009/10 season she knocked a mallard duck down hard after waiting-on at 500ft but it fell into long cover at the water’s edge so couldn’t be found. Sadly Marnie never got to see her 3rd season as she was killed in the garden by an escaped ferret which dug into her enclosure.



In 2016 Staffordshire Gamehawks produced seven young peregrines and with this success came the opportunity to embark upon the first season of the 'KWF'. Pepsi was the only falcon produced from Bubble & Fidget and became #2 in the process when placed with Lali (a Brookei falcon bred from Lela & Henry) & Aragon (a grandson of Bubble from an otherwise unrelated pairing) into an open-fronted pen at 5 weeks of age. Whilst all hawks were intended to form part of Staffordshire Gamehawks breeding stock it was only Pepsi that was required for several seasons of duck hawking and so she was given our full attention.  Beginning with a tame hawk that smoothly moved through basic handling, hooding, flying to the kite and entering to quarry according to developmental needs - the result was a resounding success as she completed an extremely impressive first season. A British peregrine flying at weights of 28-31oz Pepsi eclipsed all other peregrines I have seen when flown to the kite when she was able to climb at 400ft per minute to heights over 1000ft. This precocious flying ability continued when the kite was removed as advanced training gave way to flights at wild quarry and she regularly mounted high and stooped fast at mostly mallards over enclosed countryside not ideally suited to flying a gamehawk. She made several pitches of over 1000ft and produced regular stoops of over 100mph as measured by the Marshall GPS telemetry system. By the end of her first season she had accounted for 8 mallards and a teal and produced an average pitch of 485ft from 44 flights. She spent the spring, summer and early autumn with KWF 2016 tiercel ‘Aragon’ in a sky-light and seclusion pen before returning to the field. In her follow-up season she improved upon her first season by posting an average pitch of 499ft from 26 flights with 11 mallards in the bag. She was flown at weights above 32oz on many occasions and was still aggressive enough to kill ducks as she dominated the skies wherever ducks were present. She produced three quality offspring in 2020 for the first time and it is hoped that just like her illustrious father she will spawn a dynasty. 


In 2021 Staffordshire Gamehawks produced seven young Brookei falcons out of Arcadia and Ciro and with this success came the opportunity to embark upon the final season of the 'KWF' using the whole of the first clutch for the first time in a half dozen years. Alya became #18 in the process when removed from her parents’ skylight and seclusion pen at 4.5 weeks of age and placed into individual semi-opaque tanks alongside the tanks containing her older sisters #16 & #17 and then later into an open-fronted pen. After the usual socialization process was carried out and the sisters were flown to the kite and then entered to ducks it was noticed that whilst by no means a precocious individual Alya (in common with many of our Brookei peregrines) seemed to have a natural instinct to fly higher than strictly necessary in order to achieve the objective. Whilst all hawks were shaping up to be excellent game hawks it was only Alya who survived to her third season after her sisters met with unfortunate accidents in the field in first and second seasons. Following on from a not especially impressive first season where she was behind her sister #18 - Caracotada - in terms of both average pitch and kills she was still behind her sister at the start of the 2022/23 season. It was only following Caracortada’s sad demise that Alya finally emerged from her sister’s not inconsiderable shadow. She ended the 2022/23 season by eclipsing her sister’s average pitch with 573ft from 13 duck hawking flights in an Avian Influenza affected season. In her third season she really came into her own with an average pitch of 650ft from 24 flights at ducks with 7 mallards, a teal and a various put into the bag. A pure Spanish Brookei peregrine flying at weights of 23-25oz Alya has produced the best successful duck hawking flight I have ever seen when on 13th January 2024 she took a pitch of 1008ft over enclosed ground and put in an 119mph vertical stoop to kill a mallard drake following a textbook knock-down. It is hoped that Alya will improve both in terms of pitch and kill ratio when she takes her place on the cadge for the 2024/25 season.