Ulgii - Golden Eagle Festival - Eagle (Mongolia)
Young female golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are caught in the wild. Once caught they don't get food for several days. Afterwards they will accept food from humans and when trust between hunter and bird is gained, the hunter will start training the eagle. They become a part of the family and a long-term and trusting relationship is created. Eagle hunting starts after the first snow, mostly in November. The eagle hunters will ride up to a high peak overlooking a wide valley. Eagles mostly wear a hood which called ‘tomaga’. During the hunt the hood is removed, the eagle will spot its prey and then the eagle is released. As soon as the prey has been taken down, the eagle will stay with it until the berkutchi arrives to kill it. The eagle will be rewarded with some meat, sometimes the lungs of the animal. They mostly catch rabbits and marmots but the corsac fox is the most prized quarry. After 6 to 8 years the eagles are released back into the wild so they can breed.