Weather in UB

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Eagles in the capital

Terelj National Park, just outside UB
Me, nervous about holding an eagle (THEY ARE HEAVY!)
Eagle hunter heading back up the hill
look at those wings
Eagle hunter posing majestically
Christian being taught a thing or two
Ryan and Natasha-Kazakh royalty
Yesterday I attended the first Kazakh eagle hunting event in UB. The story, as told to me by a credible source, is that the Kazakh MP was sick of people in UB saying that it was too far to travel to Bayan-Olgii (Western Mongolia) for the Eagle Fest, so he asked some of the hunters to come to UB. I must say, I was pretty negative about going. First off, I've been to Olgii and seen an eagle up close and personal. I felt like this would just be too touristy...and I was right! It was pretty touristy, but getting out of the city pollution, and experiencing a fascinating piece of Kazakh culture was worth it. It was nice to be standing in a group of people, in a familiar place, but not being able to understand a word that was being said (they were speaking Russian and Kazakh).
In case you didn't know, Mongolia has a small Kazakh minority that lives in Western Mongolia, specifically Bayan-Olgii province, although not exclusively. When I visited Kazkhstan in 2005, the joke was that if you really want to see Kazakh culture, don't go to Kazakhstan, go to Bayan-Olgii or Urumqi, China.
Pictures say it best, so here are a few
Where am I in Central Asia?
Eagle hunters all lined up
Playing "who can hold on to the goat carcass"
Eagle, on the right just below the mountain peak, soaring through the air.


Andrew Campbell said...

Sweet! Nice pics, bagsh. Were the eagles turned loose on game of any kind? or were they just sent out for a flight or two?


Ulaana said...

YEP! There was a game where the horses dragged a wolf carcass at full speed and the eagle had to get it, and another one where they used a few live hares. At one point the hare actually ran into the crowd...the eagle didn't give up!

Meg said...


thought you might be interested in an article from today's Chicago Tribune (that mom pointed out to me!),1,5463673.story

Love, M.

Anonymous said...

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jo said...

Anne, I just saw your photos of the Eagle event. Wow you have a GREAT calendar photo there with the man onhis horse holding an eagle. PLEASE send it for the next calendar contest. I'd love to see it in there.

Sounds like you are having a great time, miss you here in Madison. Pass the word around about about photos for the calendar, we are always looking for something good.

Jo Thomson Brand