The Falconer character jug colorway with black hat and jacket and a brown falcon handle modeled by Max Henk and produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, in 1960. Falconry is the sport of hunting birds or small animals with falcons or other types of hawks. The falconer is a highly skilled bird handler who trains young falcon just out of the nest to fly when released from its trainer's wrist and kill its quarry but leave its prey untouched. It is no easy task to train a dangerous bird of prey and control it in the hunt. While on the hunter's arm, the falcon or hawk wears a hood to keep it calm, and strong leather straps called jesses bind the bird to the falconer's wrist. Falconry is of very ancient origin. The Chinese practiced it as long ago as 2000 BC. In England it was a favorite sport of Ethelbert and other Saxon Kings. From the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066 up to the seventeenth century, kings, princes, lords and ladies took part in the chase. Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James I were especially enthusiastic about it. In Norman times only those of high rank were allowed to keep falcons; the privilege was extended to all freemen in the reign of King John. A falcon forms the handle of the jug.