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 Urs featured in an article

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Dimple Diver

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Posts : 64
Join date : 2008-12-17
Location : diving into SRG's dimples as usual
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PostSubject: Urs featured in an article   Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:23 pm



Who’d have thought it….Il Divo’s Urs Buhler sings falconry’s praises
The operatic pop group rose to fame in 2004 with their eponymous debut album and are now a global phenomenon. Here, their tenor Urs lets his dreams soar...

My interest in birds comes from my father. I grew up in a little Swiss village near Lucerne and my father was very much into nature. He would be out over the hills or through the forest, photographing flowers, picking mushrooms and looking at all the animals.
From a very early age I went with him. He had a lot of books, including a German book about falconry which I read for the first time when I was about eight. From then on I was fascinated.
A lot of people don’t know what falconry is. They think it is just being interested in birds whereas it actually means hunting with them. My interest had been dormant for a while until my girlfriend picked up on it and bought me a few books for my birthday and got me a proper falconry glove a few years ago.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible for me to have my own bird at the moment. I don’t have the time and I travel too much. If you have horses or a dog you can have somebody else look after them, but birds are much more fragile.
The type of bird you can have depends on the countryside you are in. I’ve got a property in the South of France with a bit of land. It’s big, open farming country with hedges and woods. The locals mostly hunt deer and wild boar which are much too big for falconry but there are grouse and quail and hares too so you would probably get a goshawk for that type of game. If you wanted to hunt with a large falcon you would need more open country.
A couple years ago I held Europe’s biggest golden eagle at the falconry centre at Lightwater Valley in Yorkshire. It was bred in Germany for wolf-hunting. It would be my dream to have a golden eagle. I don’t think it’s possible in western Europe, though.
A golden eagle, head to tail, is about 3 ft long with a wingspan of up to 10 ft. It’s got very powerful talons so it’s a very majestic, powerful, efficient animal and it’s about a foot away from your face. I am in awe of that. Its weight and size, power and speed, and the amazing eyesight it has… I find it incredibly impressive.
Sometimes I have a problem with the whole hunting thing. When I’m in France, on my own land, and I see a hare, the last thing I think about is killing it, but if you hunt animals to eat that is fine. Some people hunt larks with a sparrowhawk. I don’t see the point. Why would you see how many larks you can kill?
The relationship you have with a bird depends on its species. Some get ver, very tame. Harris hawks can follow you like dogs. You whistle for them, they come to your fist and won’t take food from anybody else. Like any animal you have, the more time you can spend with them the better the relationship will be. Birds are not very intelligent creatures, just very instinctive. I would want a bird that was very attached to me and I hope one day this dream will come true.
I enjoy everything I do with Il Divo but I’d like to retire in about 10 years. By then I will be 50 and I would love to settle down and do everything I’ve never had the time for: have birds, horses, big dogs, and do all the outdoor things.
The rest of the band don’t understand my passion. They just see me reading these books on the plane and think: “What’s that funny thing Urs is into?”
I’ll get some time off next summer after we finish the American leg of our tour, and I plan to go to Scotland for a week for a falconry course. That will be spectacular.
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