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 Climbing

The most obvious form of progress is the maximum height reached. Initially it’s sensible to allow the falcon to catch the Roprey in a low-level tail chase for a few days, ensuring her confidence builds well. Once fixated on her quarry, the Roprey can be allowed to climb at a shallow angle. You will likely find that her straight-line speed dramatically increases over the first 2 weeks. Initially she isn’t convinced about going at it all guns blazing, but after catching the Roprey half a dozen times she will begin to put the burners on.

As the climbing portion of the flight is extended, you open up your options to carry out more exciting manoeuvres. Some falcons naturally climb along the same route as their quarry, following it in the turns. Others climb wide, looking for advantageous lift in likely parts of the terrain. The climbing style can sometimes be influenced by the pilot. Keeping the Roprey close but just out of reach tends to draw the falcon along a similar path, while opening up a larger gap can often get the falcon thinking about other methods of gaining height.

Although drones have been used for a number of years for climbing flights, the use of Roprey for the same purpose is favourable. The propellers on drones are accessible to the falcon, despite the various guards that can be fitted, and accidents have been recorded. They are also limited in their use. The falcon spends time and energy getting up there, just to hang onto a lure and fall to the ground. Once the falconer starts to enjoy the vertical spiral stoop at the end of a Rofalconry flight, everything else seems a bit tame…