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High-class hospital for falcons

QatarAt first glance, the private Souq Waqif hospital in Doha Historic Center is like any other modern hospital, only the rooms are filled with falcons.

Nurses in blue uniforms moved quickly through the brightly lit corridor. The radiotherapy and surgery rooms reeled in the beeps and flickers of screens. The specialist squints at the X-ray film and the surgeon makes an incision with modern tools.

All the patients here are birds.

In the rich country of Qatar, these desert birds are long-revered symbols, for their belligerence, loyalty and ability to hunt. Eagle is also a pet of the Gulf people.

Man with a falcon and a falcon at Souq Waqif Falconry Hospital in Doha, Qatar.  Photo: AP

Man with a falcon and a falcon at Souq Waqif Falconry Hospital in Doha, Qatar. Photo: AP

Humans and falcons have formed a close relationship since the Paleolithic. Toys This is still passed down from generation to generation in Qatar and other oil kingdoms in the Persian Gulf. With the increasing demand in recent years, clubs teaching birds of prey sprang up all over the place. Hunting contests and Miss Falcon more and more.

The excellent birds earn at least a few thousand dollars each time they take the test, and the Qataris spare no expense to care for them. “The establishment of the hospital was to serve the hobby and tradition of falconry,” said Souq Waqif hospital director Dr. Ikdam Al Karkhi.

Souq Waqif Hospital provides professional service for injured falcons, serving approximately 30,000 birds each year. The marbled reception area is bustling with owners bringing their birds in for health checkups, feather trimming, orthopedic surgery and even some beauty treatments. Pruning falcons is a very popular service, because wild desert birds now living in luxury homes or in captivity can’t find sharp surfaces to trim their nails.

Moreover, participating in hunting wars, sometimes the falcon is counterattacked by its prey. It may have injured its wings, lost feathers. Each feather is important for flight, so if lost, it must be replaced immediately.

Doctors will often go into feather banks to find one that matches the injured bird’s lost feathers, from style, length, color. If this damaged feather has not fallen out, it can be dangerous to the bird’s health, so it needs to be treated.

Surgeons also treat other injuries from wars. The two most commonly injured birds are beaks and claws from swooping, pecking and chewing prey.

A peregrine falcon awaits before surgery.  Photo: AP

A peregrine falcon awaits before surgery. Photo: AP

In a hospital waiting room, falcons perched on their owners’ gloved wrists. “The love for the falcon is incomparable,” said Hamad Al Mehshadi, who takes his bird for a routine check-up.

Oil wealth and global business have turned Doha into a bustling capital with a host of skyscrapers and mega-projects, including giant stadiums that will soon host millions of fans. football grave for the upcoming 2022 World Cup. But the Souq Waqif hospital still receives 150 falcons a day – a sign that the echoes of Qatar’s ancient past have not faded away.

“The look that a falcon, and its owner, give out is something different every place it appears,” added Dr Al Karkhi.

Bao Nhien (According to AP)

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