Falconry is the art of hunting with trained birds of prey. It began in 2000 B.C. in the Middle East, spreading to Europe in 300 B.C.
The speed, agility and power of falcons, as well as their docility and easiness to train, make them ideal birds for falconry. Falconry was a particularly expensive hobby to maintain, and because of this became most popular amongst the nobility and kings of England.
In time, Laws of Ownership determined which species of bird could be held by which rank of society, and made it illegal to hunt with a bird that had been assigned to a higher rank.
Falconry flourished throughout the Middle Ages, but lost its popularity in the 17th century when other forms of hunting, such as the shotgun, were introduced.
Eventually, falconry spread to the United States, where it remains popular today, particularly using Red-Tailed hawks and peregrines. Some falconers use their expertise in caring for these birds to raise the young falcons released in reintroduction projects.