One of the youngest, licensed Master Class Falconers in the state of West Virginia, Collin Waybright has been practicing falconry since he was 14 years old. He started this adventure by trapping his first falconry bird, a Red-Tailed Hawk named Ace, from the wild. Collin has also trained an American Kestrel for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA, and is one of the youngest people in the US, at the age of 18, to work with a Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle, Mr. Spectacular, is a non-releasable bird and is now an educational ambassador. Collin is a homeschool graduate and that in itself allowed him to follow his passion as a falconer and education. His hopes are to impact his home state of West Virginia, and surrounding states, by providing educational presentations that help people understand the nature of birds of prey and help people realize that they are a very important part of the environment in which we live. Right after graduation, he spent 10 months working at the Ararat Ridge Zoo located at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY where he was apart of their animal education team. Armed with over 9 years of experience being a falconer, working with a raptor rehab center, and the Ararat Ridge Zoo, Collin has worked with a number of different birds including some that a raptor would consider "lunch". Collin was the Executive Director of a raptor rehab center in West Virginia for over a year and traveled more than 10,000 miles doing Raptor Educational programs. In the summer of 2022, Collin presented a falconry program for the Embassy of the Czech Republic and the European Union in Washington DC. People are often amazed at Collin's God-given talent of working seemingly effortlessly with birds. Of course, if you ask him, he will assure you that there is more to training birds than what meets the eye.
What an honor it was to receive this note of encouragement from the Secretary of the State of West Virginia, Mac Warner. Thank you sir for your kind words.
"Inspired and still reeling from my time with Master Class Falconer, Collin Waybright."
We had several of our birds out to enjoy the day at LRC BNB for Holly's visit
The definition of falconry is "the taking of wild quarry with trained birds of prey". All of the diurnal (meaning active during the day) birds of prey are termed “hawks” in the language of falconry—whether they are falcons, hawks, or eagles—and all hunt naturally in the wild.
Falconry is the oldest form of hunting that is still being practiced today. It's origins are thought to be around 4,000 years old. There is debate on whether it originated in the steppes of Mongolia or in the Middle East. Even with it's worldwide history, falconry was not legalized in West Virginia until 1998.
Given that falconry involves working with a federally protected wild animal, falconry is the most regulated field sport in America. With that in mind, anyone who wishes to participate in this ancient sport needs to follow the required steps to obtaining a falconry permit.
It should be noted that falconry is not for the weak of heart, in that falconry is unapologetically Not pet-keeping; it is a hunting sport and that must be kept in mind. And as it is in nature, for these birds to survive, other animals must die.