I'm saddened to report the death of my old friend Bob Martin, who passed away last week at the age of 73. Bob first took up falconry in the late 1950s when he was in his early teens. He and his friend Mike Arnold, who lived in the same neighborhood in Burbank, California, were absolute fanatics about the sport, reading everything they could find about falconry and tirelessly searching the nearby hills for raptor nests. Their efforts took a quantum leap forward when they met Bob Klimes, president of the Southern California Falconers' Association, and Bob McCallum, who were both avid game hawkers and provided the two boys with help, advice, and stellar examples to follow.
A recent picture of Bob with one of his peregrines from a 2018 article by Brent Frazee.
He was an excellent hood-maker, and some examples of his work can be seen at the Archives of Falconry. His craftsmanship showed in everything he created, from hoods, blocks, and falconry bags to the log house he built nearly singlehandedly in Montana. He was also a talented musician, playing and singing with his wife JoAnne in their bluegrass band.
Bob was always a staunch game-hawker, flying first-rate falcons in spectacular style. Last season, he went on the road with his two intermewed peregrines, Salt and Pepper, flying them at sage grouse, prairie chickens, and other challenging quarry. He had planned to do the same this fall. Sadly, it was not to be. He will be greatly missed.
Bob Martin with his peregrine in the 1960s. Photo by Mike Arnold
Bob Martin (at right) and Bog Mechsner in La Verne, California, in the 1960s. Photo by Dan Fenske