The Malta Falconers Club
In 2015, a group of young passionate falconry enthusiasts established the Malta Falconers Club, with the primary aim to safeguard and promote the art of Falconry. Another important purpose of the Club is to incite a community of falconers and people with direct interest in the practice of falconry, in order to establish the best practice for the welfare and keeping of birds of prey.
The Malta Falconers Club is a full-member of the International Association for Falconry and the Conservation of Birds of Prey (IAF), an affiliate member of the Federation for Hunting and Conservation – Malta (FKNK), and registered with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations with VO. No. 1157. In 2016 Malta successfully adopted a national legislation which has been praised as one of the best regulations in Europe, by the IAF CEO Mr. Gary Timbrell. In 2016, Falconry was also included by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Finally, the art of falconry was inscribed on Malta’s national inventory list as intangible cultural heritage in 2019.
The Maltese falconry regulations are currently being used as template models by other European countries, namely Greece and Denmark.
The Malta Falconers Club are also involved in pest eradication and control initiatives to support flourishing the local flora and fauna for a better ecosystem.
Falconry has very strong historic ties to the Maltese islands. Significant reference was that occurred in 1568, when the Grand Master of the Order of St John of Jerusalem Jean “Parisot” de La Vallette died with a sun stroke whilst hunting with his falcons. Although the most notable historic timeline was during the 16th century. When the Maltese Islands were handed over to the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem from the King of Spain Charles V, part of the islands’ remittance was a wild Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus – Bies in Maltese) that would be captured from the Dingli Cliffs area and presented to the King annually on the 2nd of November. This historic annual event earned this falcon the title of ‘Maltese Falcon’. ‘The Maltese Falcon’ was the title of a 1941 movie and recently a super-yacht was also so named.
At the time the Peregrine Falcon was a regular breeding species on the Maltese islands. However, and unfortunately, mainly due to poaching and other human interferences, these falcons have not been recorded to breed in the wild locally in recent decades.
Therefore, the Malta Falconers Club was glad to highlight the return of the Peregrine Falcon that has successfully bred in the wild on the Maltese islands in recent years. In 2015 a pair of Peregrine Falcons was observed breeding on the Maltese Islands. In subsequent years another two pairs bred on Ta’ Ċenċ cliffs, on Malta’s sister island of Gozo and on the island of Comino. The Malta Falconers Club constantly raises awareness of these occurrences to further safeguard these magnificent species.