Falcon is the national bird of UAE and is a symbol of force and courage, recognizing the importance of falconry in Arab tradition and culture. The falcon species has always been regarded as a very uncommon and shy bird, and it is very rarely met with by amateur birdwatchers (Ali 1968). Arabs constitute 1/3rd part of the world’s falconers. Falcons are fast flying hunters suited for taking prey in the air. In this pesticide era they are facing serious ecological risks, as their position is at the top of the biological pyramids.
Falcons are strong, fast fliers with great aerial agility. They seldom soar in the manner of hawks. The peregrine has been clocked at 290 km/h (180 mph) in a stoop, or dive. This speed and agility make falcons successful hunters of birds, reptiles, and small mammals. A number of species, however, are insectivorous or eaters of carrion. Although falcons strike or grasp their prey with their sharp claws, they generally kill the captured prey with their beaks. The short-winged hawks kill with their claws.
Saga of the success begins...
Dr. Zubair Medammal born at Tirur, in a middle income family, as the second one of the eight children of Kunhaidru Haji and Fathima, the nominee had his formal education at BYKVHS, Valavannur, Graduation in Zoology from P.S.M.O. College, Tirurangadi, Post Graduation in Wildlife Biology from Farook College, Calicut and B. Ed (Natural Science) from M.G. University.
As a job aspirant he then proceeded to Gulf, where, in spite of frantic search he didn’t succeeded in getting a job for his livelihood. He then approached the authorities of H.H. Sheikh Zayed Falcon Research Hospital, Abu Dhabi, where he was denied of a job by the German Doctor, even though the nominee was ready to work as sweeper or keeper who clean the cages of Falcons. He took it as a challenge and decided to study in depth about the falcons which made him as First and the Only Asian to get a Doctorate in the study of Falcons and first and only individual who recorded and made SONOGRAM of 15 different Vocalizations of various species of Falcons. He had to sacrifice all benefits as a Lecturer for his research in the University of Calicut for a period of six years.
Since Falcons fly and live in greater heights, it is too difficult to see and observe its movements and behaviour. Even though, in past, many tried to make study on this topic, nobody succeeded except this nominee. It is said that to observe the Falcons, one will have to travel in an aero plane and the nominee flied 42 times around the World for the same. He spent months at Western Ghats (Silent Valley) and took about six years to complete the research work to become the first and the only Asian who attained the Ph D. in the study about Falcons. Being the national bird and symbol of culture of most of the Middle East countries, Falcons are treated with paramount importance and even highly facilitated exclusive hospitals are there for Falcon’s treatment.
Dr Zubair took eight visiting visas (800 days) for his studies by spending Lakhs of Rupees which he managed as hand loans. Even now he possesses permanent visa for taking classes as Visiting Professor in UAE including the above said Falcon Hospital. This really embodies the maxim “if there is a will, there is a way”.
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