Falconry Isn't What You Think
Unlike captured animals kept as exotic novelties, falconers don’t ask their birds to do anything other than what they would do in the wild. We let them be hawks.
The best example I can share would be the circus one. If elephants were the subject It would be like like this: A baby elephant is harmlessly trapped and taken to a human village. Instead of her handler teaching her to balance on pedestals or carry people on her back, she would be taught how to find the best snacks. Her handler setting up situations where the little gal had to learn to navigate tall grasses, swim to cattails, and walk around dead trees to discover the best palm fronds. That’s what falconry is. It’s raising an animal to be successful at eating, perhaps even more successful than they would be on their own. Human handlers (falconers) raise the confidence and skill set of a bird, getting it to pursue game it might not even hope to try for in the wild.
The bird isn’t hunting for us. The bird isn’t fetching us game. The bird is just doing what it would do every single day in the wild and letting us tag along because of the mutual benefits. This is not common among all wild animals. I wouldn't want to sit down beside a fresh kill of one of those white tigers. But my hawk doesn't mind the dinner company.
Hunting in the wild is hard, exhausting, and never a sure bet. But knowing this person who took you home will always have dinner on the table is comforting to that avian brain, in a sense. Which is why they come back to their falconers when called even though they are flying free. It’s not returning to a friend, it’s responding to the waiter who called your name for the table you’ve been waiting for. Of course you’ll follow the person with menus against their chest and a smile on their face. You want to eat.