For Bill Mixon, nothing compares with the thrill of watching a red-tailed hawk in flight. Mixon, co-founder of Brothers Company, a real estate and development firm in Atlanta, got interested in falconry in 2000, after a friend of his son's took up the medieval sport. Mixon tracked down an experienced falconer in the Atlanta area and spent two years as his apprentice, learning how to train red-tailed hawks to hunt for squirrels and rabbits. Now a licensed falconer, Mixon catches about two young red-tailed hawks a year and spends about three months training them in his backyard in Decatur, Georgia, using skewered meat as practice prey. During hunting season, which runs from August to February, he spends at least three days a week hunting with the hawks at universities with large tracts of land. (He lets the birds eat their prey.) Mixon usually releases his birds back into the wild after two or three years.

Taking Off
Mixon is shown here with Ally, a female red-tailed hawk that he captured with his apprentice in September. He is wearing a double-layered elk skin glove to protect his arm from the hawk's talons.

Mixon's hawks live in a hawk house in his backyard.

Members Only
A member of the Georgia Falconry Association, Mixon competes in at least one falconry meet a year.