My name is Sam Kramer, I am a 17-year old high school student at the Ross School in East Hampton, NY. Although I am immersing myself in the sport of falconry as my Senior Project, a graduation requirement at my high school, falconry means much more to me than that. This project was more of a way for me to convince my family, and myself, that I had the time and could put in the required effort to be a falconer.

I have always had a passion for birds and ornithology. I have been bird watching since the second grade and raptors have always impressed me the most. My interest in falconry really started when I read My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George as a young boy. The book was about a young boy from New York City named Sam (coincidence?) who decides to live off the land in the Catskill Mountains. As part of his adventures, he takes a baby Peregrine Falcon from its nest and raises it to be his companion, eventually using it to hunt and provide himself with food. I fell in love with the book immediately and ever since, I’ve loved birds and falconry was always in the back of my mind as something I would like to try one day. Ever since, I’ve been birdwatching and have had a tremendous passion for science. Luckily, I now have the chance to study this amazing discipline.

I found out from my father that one of his friends had been a master falconer for almost 20 years and I started talking to him about falconry. I decided that I was really determined to give it a try and, knowing that my senior project was coming up, I knew that now was about the last good chance I would get before college to try something like this. Naturally, I seized the opportunity as quickly as I could, and it was just in the nick of time. I made up my mind in late January and my only shot to take the test was that coming April. Check the blog for more information on the rest of the process.

For soon-to-be apprentices, or for those who are more interested in the technical aspects of the process, know that I am trying to be as straightforward and honest as I can about the process. I’ve dedicated a page to the construction of the mews, which I’ve found to be the most difficult part to date. As I go along, I’m sure more pages about specific aspects of the process and of falconry in general will start to pop up, so keep checking back if you haven’t quite found what you’re looking for yet.


8 thoughts on “About

  1. Kim Niehans

    Hello Sam,

    I just came across your blog. I’m an artist in So Cal and I was looking for images for my work. Your senior project is amazing! What an incredible experience. I’m looking forward to reading through more of your blog and watching the videos.

    Would you mind if I use some of your falcon photos as reference images in my paintings? Here’s a link to some of my work so you can see what I do.


    Kim Niehans

    1. skramer13 Post author

      Sure thing, Kim. If you could let me know which ones you’d like to use just so I can make sure you’re giving credit to the right person, because I didn’t take all of the pictures that are on the blog. Please feel free to use whichever ones you want.


  2. A.J.

    I appreciate the time you took to share this information, especially for us folks in NY. I am interested in falconry and would like to ask you some questions when you have the time. Please write goodfight81@yahoo.com , thanks.


  3. Jonathan

    Hi, I’m 13 and this year I want to start falconry. I have lots of reptiles, 2 dogs, and a few birds, but I’ve always been interested in raptors. When I lived in Haiti, I had kestrels, but they were rescues, and had peg legs, and other injuries that made them unsuitable for falconry. The problem is I live in NYC, and I have a 75‘x16’ backyard, but the closest park is a public park, where I’m pretty sure falconry is illegal. I can do creance training in my backyard, but that leads to two questions. The first, how often do you take Atlas out to fields? The second, how do you go on vacation? Because I go on vacation maybe 3 times a year, and for 2 of those, I can bring a hawk, but isn’t there rules against moving them, since their mews need to be inspected? Oh, that was 3, ok, I had 3 questions.
    Thanks, Jonathan

  4. tom

    Hi Sam thanks for taking the time to write the blog I really like your writing style and the fact that you’ve shared your experiences from day one pretty much!
    Just wondering how Atlas is doing now?

    I based in Australia and would love a copy of the workbook you had to study before your test between Jan and April when you first got your licence.. do you happen to know if there’s a digital copy?

    thanks for writing! keep posting when you get time!

  5. Lexi

    hey i also live in southampton, and this is AWESOME. i’ve always been interested in falconry, so it’s super cool to see someone around my age getting into it! keep on keepin on!

  6. Rae

    Hello Sam!
    I want to let you know I love this blog and how you’ve presented the information leading up to your license, and eventually Atlas! I am an undergraduate of wildlife biology here in northern Montana. Within eight years (hopefully more like five) I will have a place with a little property where I can comfortably house birds for hunting. My aim is to catalog game with FWS utilizing raptor kills. Falconry is certainly a lifestyle, but if it can tie into a senior thesis, then why not. I encountered a falconry meet in upstate New York (Deposit?) one year. How amazing! I hope you had the opportunity to be a part of the falcon groups in that area. How did things turn out for you in the following years, as far as training and hunting with Atlas and possibly other birds? It’s great to see someone young and so devoted to these raptors getting into this lifestyle. Hope all is well, keep flying!
    – Rae

    1. skramer13 Post author

      Hi Rae!
      Thank you very much for reading! That sounds like an amazing area to be for hawking and I hope everything works out for you sooner rather than later; that sounds like quite the job. Unfortunately things with Atlas didn’t last very long because I started college in California in the fall of 2013 and could not find someone to sponsor me in tie, so I had to release Atlas before I left for school. However, I’ve still been looking into finding a sponsor out here who might have room in a mews for an additional bird, since it isn’t really feasible for me to house a bird on campus, and I’m hoping I can find one soon. I definitely intend to get back into falconry as soon as possible, though!


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