Ron Richter is a master falconer who has had many teachers, including some with feathers, he said.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Master falconer Ron Richter watches Chili, his Harris hawk, stretch her wings during a recent outing. Richter and two other falconers will show their birds of prey on Sept. 26 at the Springs at Clackamas Woods.Richter and two other falconers will show their birds of prey from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at The Springs at Clackamas Woods, a senior living community in Milwaukie. The public is invited to the free presentation.

At the event, Richter will show Chili, his Harris hawk; Carol Speegle, a master falconer, will bring her hybrid falcon, Bebe; and Shawn Higgins, an apprentice falconer, will bring his red-tailed hawk, Stormy.

“The 90-minute presentation is part of a continual life-enrichment program,” Richter said, adding that the director at The Springs at Clackamas Woods “looks for interesting and stimulating educational topics to engage these men and women.

“This event is a good intro to falconry and a chance to see three different birds of prey up close. It’s also a good opportunity to see how The Springs at Clackamas Woods is a senior-living community that’s perhaps a little different than expected,” Richter said.

Richter works part-time at The Springs at Tanasbourne in Hillsboro, a sister community of The Springs at Clackamas Woods, and says that the residents there enjoyed the presentation the three falconers did this past summer.

A way of life

“Falconry is more than a sport, it becomes a way of life,” Richter said, noting that falconry also is a hunting sport that runs from mid-autumn to early spring.

When falconers aren’t hunting, they enjoy gathering with other falconers and sharing stories. They also enjoy sharing their sport with “people who may not get the chance to see these amazing birds of prey up close.”

Falconers also relish the chance to educate people about the sport that allows birds of prey to live longer.

“Typically, 75 percent of wild birds die within their first year, while in the hands of a falconer they could live 25 years,” Richter said.


Chili is a 6-year-old Harris hawk, which is part of the Parabuteo family.

“They are not indigenous to Oregon, so she can never be released here. My wife purchased her from a breeder for me as a Father’s Day present, because I like the temperament of the Harris hawk, and I also enjoy hunting ground quarry.”

Richter received Chili when she was about 3 months old and did all the training himself. “It starts with what I like to call ‘the leap of faith,’ when after several days, she finally will hop to my fist from a perch. I learned falconry from my two sponsors that I had in the beginning of my apprenticeship program. There are both state and federal laws requiring a two-year apprenticeship program to practice the sport of falconry,” he said.

Along Richter’s 15-year falconry path, he’s had many teachers, and a lot of his learning was gathered in the field while hunting with other falconers.

He added, “If you keep your ears open you can sometimes hear a good idea.”

See the birds

What: Three falconers will show their birds of prey at this free event.

When: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26

Where: The Springs at Clackamas Woods, 14404 S.E. Webster Road, Milwaukie

More: Call 503-653-3422 or visit

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