Shyrga Tartu competition (all photos best at the largest size)
During the Shyrga Tartu competition at the Eagle Festival in Olgii, Western Mongolia, the Kazakh eagle hunter tows a rabbit or a fox skin lure behind his galloping horse and his eagle is released from high up on the nearby mountain. The eagle that is the fastest at catching the lure is the winner.
You can see how fast and hard the eagle hits the lure from the rocks that are flying up and the dust cloud it raises. A golden eagle can reach speeds of up to 300 km/hr when it swoops down on its prey. Out on the steppes learning to catch lures is one of the ways that the eagles are trained to hunt live prey, a source of food and clothing for the Kazakh tribesmen and their families during the harsh winters.
Other photos of the Shyrga Tartu competition can be seen here: http://goo.gl/HFBKgF
Eagle FestivalOlgiiUlgiiWestern Mongoliagolden eaglecatching a lureShyrga Tartu competitiontalons in a lure