Yankee Magazine: Animal Close-Ups - Best 5

Soar with a Falcon

Thrust one arm out, and bam! There’s a Harris’s hawk eating out of your hand. And you’re glad it all happened so fast that you never quite realized what foodstuff it was that New Hampshire master falconer Nancy Cowan tucked into your heavy glove. This wildlife rehabilitator, author of Peregrine Spring, has turned what began as her husband’s hobby into one of the world’s few licensed falconry schools. The falconer’s task, like his or her tools, has changed little in four millennia: “Set things up, so the wild instinct comes to the bird.” Introductory classes are exhilaratingly hands-on. When you drop your arm to fly a hawk, it’s hard to contain your awe as his wings unfold and he soars  … alights … waits … stares. By now, you don’t care that it’s feathered chicken feet for dinner. You want to feel that wildness, that power again—the untamed teamwork of bird and human.


Kim Knox Beckius, Yankee Magazine

Boothbay Register: Nancy Cowan’s Life With Raptors

For Nancy Cowan, diving into the world of the formerly aristocratic hunting sport of falconry has been a life-changing event. The author of books and articles on sled dogs, Cowan recently published “Peregrine Spring,” which explores her self-education and fascination with raptors.

Art Mayers, Boothbay Register

Audubon: How to Train Your Raptor—A Master Falconer Shares Her Story


When Nancy and Jim Cowan decided to become falconers 30 years ago, there was one major problem: Falconry was illegal in New Hampshire, their home state. But they didn’t let that minor detail deter them. Instead, they launched an effort to legalize the sport across the state by lobbying lawmakers and their fellow statesmen. After several years of crusading, the couple emerged victorious, and the sport was legalized in 1988.

Kristen Schmitt, Audubon

Concord Monitor: Falconer Pens Memoir of 30 Years Working with Birds of Prey

Nancy Cowan has been a falconer since the beginning.

Well, not the beginning of hunting with a bird of prey, which dates back thousands of years, but the beginning of the sport in New Hampshire.

Cowan’s husband, Jim, influenced the law that allowed birds of prey a legal way to hunt wild game in the mid-1980s. She helped him with the legislation, but didn’t think she’d get drawn into falconry herself.

Sarah Kinney, Concord Monitor

Concord Monitor: Deering Bird Survives World’s First-ever Falcon Cataract Surgery

With a huff, and a puff, and a cock of her head to the side, Banner the lanner falcon announced yesterday at 4 p.m. that yes, she had made it through her surgery just fine, thank you. Would everyone please stop staring at her now? 

Banner, who belongs to Jim and Nancy Cowan at the New Hampshire School of Falconry in Deering, is the first falcon in the world to have cataract surgery. She’s had a cataract in each of her eyes for almost two years, and without her sight, she hasn’t been able to hunt or even fly.

Sarah Palermo, Concord Monitor

The Hippo: Predatory Instinct

A hunter who really wants to tap into the predator’s instinct while hunting may want to put himself in the headspace of a hawk or falcon and send the bird off to kill his quarry.


Few skills are as ancient as falconry, which Nancy Cowan defines as “hunting with a trained bird of prey.” Cowan is a master falconer and runs the New Hampshire School of Falconry in Deering with her husband and fellow falconer Jim.


Ryan Lessard, The Hippo

WMUR: Falcon Undergoes Landmark Eye Surgery

Watch the story of this 4-year-old falcon who underwent eye surgery this afternoon (September 30, 2014) in Concord, New Hampshire

NH Magazine: Interview With Nancy Cowan of the NH School of Falconry


It’s not everyone who would want to spend their days with raptors, aka birds of prey. But Nancy Cowan not only does that, she lets them winter over in her basement. Those are the cold-sensitive hawks; the falcons live in outbuildings on her property. “Every hawk and falcon here has a history, and I love them all,” she says.

Barbara Coles, NH Magazine