Interview: Capturing the Beautiful Bond Between Mongolian Eagle Keepers and Their Birds
In the far reaches of Mongolia, a small group of nomads keeps the tradition of eagle hunting alive. Also known as falconry, this ancient tradition requires skilled handlers to train birds of prey to assist in hunting wild animals. In ancient times, the practice was restricted to the noble classes, but today berkutchi—as it’s called in Mongolia—is a right of passage for young men living in Western Mongolia’s Altai region. Golden eagles are the most commonly used birds in the region, a rare feat as eagles are notoriously hard to train and manage. But the approximately 300 remaining eagle keepers forge a deep bond with their companions, skillfully working with them in a unique partnership to hunt foxes and small hares. Photographer Daniel Kordan recently spent time with a group of eagle keepers, where he was able to capture the beauty of their bonds.