Falcon Hospital, Abu Dhabi

Falcons have been used by humans to hunt for a long time.  Now, falconry is a popular sport, so falcons need a hospital.  The Falcon Hospital is Abu Dhabi's second most popular attraction, after the Grand Mosque.  I really love birds, especially birds of prey, so it was a thrilling experience!  The visit started with an introductory talk about falcons.  Three species are most commonly used - the peregrine, the saker and the gyrfalcon.  Then, we went into the treatment facility.  Wow!  The birds were lined up, patiently awaiting their turn.  Some were so calm, they were even in their roost position, asleep.

Then, we got to see a procedure.  The falcons need their talons trimmed and then sharpened.  Same with the beak.  They even got a moisturizer on their feet.  A common procedure is also the replacement of broken feathers.  Each flight feather is different, so broken feathers are replaced with the matching feather that has been shed during molting.  They keep a feather bank.  We saw the anesthetized bird wake up.  It was all fascinating!  We each got to hold a falcon on a glove for a picture.

We saw the molting room, where the birds hang out while they lose their feathers.  They can't hunt or compete during this time, so it is like their vacation.  Caring and breeding for domesticated falcons discourages people from collecting them in the wild.

The hospital has a nice museum about falconry and also a cafe.  It was a 10/10 for me!

We saw signs for the saluki hospital and went to the back to see it.  There were lots of salukis, but no explanation about why they were there.  The attendant didn't speak English, but let us pet the dogs.  This breed is also traditionally used for hunting.

The hoods also them calm and also prevents fighting

The bird is under anesthesia.  If the foot is injured, they put a special shoe on the bird, so it heals

The hoods were quite ornate

A saluki

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