The 1941 Humphrey Bogart film The Maltese Falcon may be iconic, but it’s also given prominence to one of the most beautiful creatures on the island.
The Peregrine falcon, often referred to as the Maltese falcon, is the fastest animal around, reaching up to 390 km/hr when diving for food. An apex predator, they can often be found roosting and hunting near rock cliffs and even skyscrapers.
They fly to great heights, then tuck their wings in and dive-bomb their prey in a fearsome manoeuvre that’s nearly impossible to track by eye. They eat everything from doves to robins and crows.
Malta has a dedicated club of enthusiasts who are all about the falcon life.
The Malta Falconers Club has around 35 active members, many of whom can be found around the island during the windy months of January and February training their beloved partners.
One Falconer who spoke to Lovin Malta explained how he spends most of his time for the first two years of a peregrine falcons life by its side, gaining its trust and forming a bond with it.
He explained how he even keeps the falcon near him while at home watching TV, that’s how important it is to be constantly close during the formative years.
Falcons are trained using a combination of a lure that falconers swiftly spin like a lasso, a GPS signal to gauge speed and movement and a loud whistle.
Lovin Malta joined the falconers as they braved the strong winds and let the birds show their fearsome speed and accuracy. Watch the above feature to see their skills – and thank your lucky stars you aren’t on any peregrine falcons’ dinner plans.