By Anthony Bond
Extreme: Azim and Aybek Shajbyrov are keen to follow in their father's footsteps and continue a family tradition of golden eagle hunting in the village of Bokonbaevo in Kyrgyzstan. Azim is pictured trying to train a golden eagle
For these brothers hoping to follow in their father's footsteps, the sky really is the limit.
But the risks of chasing their dreams are not the fear of failure - but the physical dangers of training one of nature's fiercest predators.
That's because Azim and Aybek Shajbyrov, from the village of Bokonbaevo in Kyrgyzstan, are hoping to emulate their father and continue the family tradition of golden eagle hunting.
Training: Talgarbek Shajbyrov releases his golden eagle during an exercise in Bokonbaevo, Kyrgyzstan, with one of his sons wathing in fascination
These extraordinary pictures show Azim attempting to train a giant golden eagle - one of the most powerful predators in the world.
Despite his diminutive size, he looks confident and self-assured with the enormous bird, which are known to kill foxes, goats and young deer.
His father, Talgarbek, began bird hunting at the age of seven and proudly passes on his knowledge to his young sons who are eager to impress.
The family has two golden eagles and a young falcon which gives the boys the opportunity of learning the unique skill.
Teacher: Talgarbek, pictured, has been bird hunting since the age of seven and proudly passes on his knowledge to his young sons who are eager to impress
Enjoyment: Azim Shajbyrov seems happy with a baby falcon balancing on his head, left, while his father gives water to his golden eagle, right
Golden eagle and falcon hunting is a very old national tradition in Kyrgyzstan. Professional hunters in the country call the practice berkutchy or kusbeguy in Kazakh
It is a life's profession and the relationship between the bird and its master is all-consuming. A close intimacy between both turns into a life-long trust.
With their birds the hunters work in the mountains and participate in hunting festivals called Salburun.
The Golden Eagle is found in Eurasia, North America and parts of Africa. They use their agility and speed combined with powerful talons to catch prey. They nest in high places including cliffs and trees.
Eager to learn: The family has two golden eagles and a young falcon which gives the boys the opportunity of learning the unique skill. Azim, right, and Aybek, left, enjoy playing with the baby falcon
Close: Bolot, an elder of the Shajbyrov family, looks on while sitting near his bird. Golden eagle and falcon hunting is a very old national tradition in Kyrgyzstan
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The wing commanders: Inside the village where young boys train golden eagles to hunt... and this apprentice's bird boasts a wingspan larger than him
By Anthony Bond