A rider hunts with an eagle in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia
© Timothy Allen/Getty Image
Above the Mongolian plains. On the hunt
Historians believe that falconry may have begun in Mesopotamia as long as 4,000 years ago, but this particular style of hunting with eagles on horseback dates back roughly 1,000 years. Various nomadic tribes from the Middle East and Western Asia trained golden eagles, falcons, and hawks to ride out to the mountains with them, and when the bird spotted a hare or fox, it flew out, caught the animal, and brought it back to the rider on the horse. Many people in Mongolia continue to hunt in this traditional fashion today. Our photo of an eagle hunter was taken in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia, where many ethnic Kazakh eagle hunters fled during the communist era of Kazakhstan.