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Mulino del Gufo

The Mulino del Gufo (the Owl mill) has been realized as a typical  nineteenth-century mill of the Po river delta area. It is the shelter of  the birds of prey hosted in Oltremare.

Inside there are not standard rooms but aviaries that are the houses of different birds of prey species: owls, snowy owls, barn owls, steppe eagles, European sea eagles, African fish eagles, peregrines, lanners, sacred, kestrels, Harris buzzards, buzzards, vultures.

This birds were all born in a controlled environment and are daily looked after by our experienced falconers.

From The Mulino del Gufo begins the exciting “Volo dei Rapaci” show (Birds of prey show), which is a flight and hunting demonstration where the birds are whizzing over the heads of astonished visitors.

The Falconry: the emotions of a centuries-old tradition

In 2010 the Falconry has been recognized Intangible Cultural Heritage from UNESCO.

The Falconry is the art of hunting with the falcons. It has very ancient origins; the first records date goes back to 3000 BC and come from an area of Central asia between China and Mongolia. Hence the diffusion of falconry has followed two main lines: one leading to Europe, and the other to Asia. With regards to Italy, the falconry has come through two paths: from Sicily by the Arabs and Normans, and from Germany.

First Norman lover of Falconry in Sicily was Roger II, but also Frederick Barbarossa was a great falconer. The greatest exponent for the Italian falconry, however, was Emperor Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (1194-1250), grandson of Frederick Barbarossa. Emperor of fertile intelligence, wrote one of the best Falconry treatises on the ethological and naturalistic issues for birds and in particular for falcons : "De Arte Venandi cum Avibus." This book is still very important for the Falconry.

The idea of Frederick was that the Falconer practiced this activity not for the game bag, but to train his falcon better than the others and to be honored during the hunt.

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance falconry is not only a privilege for lords and ladies, but begins to be practiced by bishops and abbots.
Falconry has had in the lives of the most illustrious families, for about four centuries, a relevance which is difficult to understand  today , as there is nothing like that in our modern world. Falconry today is  longer the prerogative of a particular social class. The only required thing is respect for the animals and a understand of its needs as well as a deep passion.

The essence of training in falconry is the approach between man and birds so it is based on trust and friendship. Nothing is taught to animals that would not be able to do in nature; it is necessary to became more interesting that what surrounds him and this is achieved using tools that simulate real prey. Only the falconry ability and the friendship between them can hold these unpredictable birds from flying away. Apparently there is an invisible thread that binds falcons and falconers. This thread may break at any time, just one wrong move , a strange noise , a strong gust of wind and the spell vanishes.

These animals are and remain wild ready to flee at the slightest sign of danger. The amazing fact of this art is the ability to communicate with the most free and wild birds of the planet.

 

THE FALCONER TOOLS

The Cap: it is used to cover the animals eyes, this action helps the bird to remain calm during stress situations.

The Glove: the falconers wear it to old the falcon on their arms so they can avoid scratches on their arms and hands

The Lure: it is a cord where to fasten a fake quarry which can be a bunch a feathers or a piece of stuffed leather.