Students get up close and personal with a falcon

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VALERA, Texas (KRBC) – This week, a professional bird abator is making rounds to schools in Coleman County, introducing falconry to students, leading up to its falconry event this Friday and Saturday.

One of the schools visited was Panther Creek Elementary, in Valera, Texas. Students were able to get up close and personal with a falcon!

“I’m not really unfamiliar with animals. Animals, I can get along with. It’s just falcons that was a new experience. Very different.,” 8th grader student, Cierra White said.

She calls herself the “chicken whisperer”.

“My papa’s chickens and our chickens, they would always climb all over me and I’d be holding them and they’d call me the chicken whisperer,” White said.

However, after this week, the eight-grader might as well add falcons to the list!

“At first it was itimidating because you don’t know, you haven’t ever done this before. You don’t know what you’re doing and then you get to doing it and it’s not that bad,” she said. “It’s kind of comforting because he didn’t seem to be scared of me or anything.”

Professional bird abator, Mark Smith, will be conducting Coleman’s first ever falcon field meet, partnering with Destination Coleman.

“They’re awesome predators and they really have a bad rep think they’re coming in after their dogs or cats or something. We’re teaching them that this is how big they are. They’re not as big as what you think they are,” Mark Smith said.

Before the big event, he is recruiting young bird enthusiasts to take part in the majestic field trip.

“They’re really not in any danger to pets. That’s one of the main things is just to kind of share the truth about and let them know that they are awesome predators in their own right,” Smith said.

Hoping wide-eyed students like andrew blevin will see more than what meets the eye!

“It’s pretty scary when he tries to fly off but, it’s pretty cool also when they’re standing there with you,” sixth-grade student, Andrew Blevins said. “I want to grow up and be a game warden so, that’s why I typically asked.”

Smith will be visiting Coleman Elementary, Coleman Middle School and Coleman High School on Thursday.

This event was influenced by a falconry event that was held in December 2017 in Eastland, with Mark Smith. That full story can be found here.

Event Information:
Friday, January 25: Field Meet

  • Falconers will start arriving at 8 a.m. (46 confirmed)
  • The general public will be able to see the birds hunt around noon until sundown.

Saturday, January 26: Bird Expo (by Destination Coleman)

  • Expo PRCA Rodeo, in Coleman
  • From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Free event
  • Guests will learn about falconry, owls, vultures and hawks
  • Education Programs
  • Flying demo

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