I was rummaging through old work in storage and found some entertaining drawings from 4th grade: warriors with mechanical birds perched on their shoulders to aid in battle. I wasn’t sure where the idea came from then, but now know that its origins started in Falconry. There are even places allow you to witness the artform in real life if you want.
You can view some falconry in action in the video clip below.
(The first 8 seconds are missing audio. The sound works after that.)
Traditional view of falconry state that the art started in Mesopotamia. The earliest evidence comes from around the reign of Sargon II (722-705 BC). Falconry was probably introduced to Europe around AD 400, when the Huns and Alans invaded from the East. Frederick II of Hohenstaufen has been noted as one of the early European noblemen to take an interest in falconry. He is believed to have obtained firsthand knowledge of Arabic falconry during wars in the region (between June 1228–June 1229). He obtained a copy of Moamyn’s manual on falconry and had it translated into Latin by Theodore of Antioch. Frederick II himself made corrections to the translation in 1241 resulting in De Scientia Venandi per Aves.