black women

This woman’s love for falcons is extraordinary and impressive

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By Nigel Boys

Most young African-American women struggle with their own identity at some point in their life and Tiffany M. White, 44, marketing coordinator for Poisoned Pen Press is no exception. However, most of them will never take up a hobby as she did, by becoming a master falconer and carrying around a large hawk named Morpheus.

White admits that she has had some strange looks from both black people and whites alike, since she took up using trained birds of prey to hunt small game. She adds that now she has finally come to terms with that part of her life and is comfortable telling others about her strange passion.

It all began, according to the White, when she was a little girl growing up in Inkster, Michigan, along with her hunter, fly fisherman and taxidermist father and stay-at-home mother. She adds that it was bound to happen, her passion for the outdoors and animals, because she had grown up catching turtles on Ford’s Dam, Ypsilanti and chasing butterflies in the field.

At the age of 24, when she was working for the state of Florida as a fisheries biologist, she became interested in the strange pet a biologist in the next office had, an American kestrel, said White. She added that she had previously been into many things such as becoming a certified scuba diver, breeder of tropical fish and had even started a manufacturing business, called Fish it, making organic plant food from fish-hatchery wastes.

White goes on to say that after she talked with the biologist in the next office, asked her lots of questions about how she became a master falconer, and decided that’s what she wanted to do to fulfill her life’s dream.

It wasn’t so easy rising through the ranks of falconry, according to White, and she was snubbed by most in the sport for being a woman and a black one at that. However, she made it through the required state exam and an inspection by Florida’s game and fish authorities and finally trapped her first bird of prey, a 940 gram Falcon which she named Nietzsche.

Nietzsche accompanied White on many kills, most of them on their own, because she was still shunned by most people in the falconry game.   After owning another bird, Zen, for 14 years, White finally got Morpheus, a 1-year-old Harris hawk, who she is comfortable with, no matter what other people may think of her or him.

Now you can’t say that black women aren’t capable of doing anything they put their minds to.   That’s a fact.