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During the Turkish quail-hunting season, man’s best friend is the sparrowhawk. Roger Upton describes how these redoubtable birds help to bring home the bacon
For many generations, sparrowhawks have been used in far-flung areas of Turkey for hunting game. All along the Black Sea coast of the country, and to the south around Mersin and Adana, these wild short-winged hawks are still skilfully trained to capture their quarry between August and September.
Ideally the chosen sparrowhawks are trapped shortly after leaving the nest. Immature, inexperienced hawks tend to adapt more readily to the training regime than adults, which have good reason to fear man’s presence. In choosing a hawk, falconers (or austringers, as sparrowhawk trainers are more properly known) look for large, open feet and a prominent eyebrow marked with white feathers. Females are usually chosen, being larger than males.
A young sparrowhawk with the right temperament can be trained in just two weeks. Time must be taken to discourage the bad habit of ‘carrying’, or flying off with the kill…
The fascination of Istanbul is enough to keep visitors and even the city’s more Westernised residents, from exploring the Asian interior of Central Anatolia, whose local capital, Konya, boasts a million residents and a daunting commitment to Muslim fundamentalism. But a night’s journey by train from Haydarpaşa brings one back to the very dawn of civilisation, and the experience is well worth the not inconsiderable effort of exploring.
The Anastasian and Theodosian walls together protected the city for many years; but now this vast and beautiful network is under attack from within. Cornucopia investigates the dangers that threaten this important cultural icon and its surroundings.
The Çuruksulu Mehmet Pasha Yali once saw diplomatic service as the home of the ambassador Muharrem Nuri Birgi. Beautifully preserved, its restrained exterior and spacious interior evince the classical age of Ottoman style, and its clifftop position provides timeless views
Chris Farrard questions the motives behind William Allan’s famous Slave Market
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