LUBBOCK, Texas– More than 250 people from around the world are visiting West Texas this week for the 61st annual North American Falconers Association Field Meet, organizers told KLBK News on Monday.

“Today was the first day that I went out with that bird. So, just kind of getting acclimated but she’ll be on tomorrow. She’s a pro,” said Adam Chavez, Director-at-large and Vice Chair of NAFA, while gesturing toward his bird. “She’s 15. You don’t see too many birds out there that are that age. They’re super fast sprinters, but they’re also reckless. They run into things on occasion.”

Chavez said he drove from California to Lubbock just for the event.

“We have people who come from Canada, Mexico and the United States every year,” explained Mallory Roelke, the media coordinator for the event. “We have 270 members who are here this year at the Field Meet and we’re here to talk everything Falconry.”

Participants spent the day on Monday acclimating a variety of birds including hawks, falcons and eagles to the environment and will continue hunting daily as the week progresses.

While the organization does change locations every year, organizers said, they love hosting in Lubbock because of the wildlife.

“The panhandle of Texas, especially Lubbock, is very good for rabbits and jackrabbits. Open country is really good for what we like to do because it allows us to see the birds,” said Falconer Matt Reidy. “So, we like to go where game access is really good, and then we’ve also found that landowners around here are really, really nice, and they really appreciate what we do and get to see the birds that we fly.”

Group leaders added that NAFA is conservation-minded.

“It’s kind of a give and take relationship we get to enjoy– what I like to call interactive bird watching. The birds are getting to do what they do every day in the wild and are cared for. We’re able to provide them veterinary aspects if they need it,” shared Heath Garner, Vice President of the North American Falconers Association.

To learn more about the sport of Falconry, the group said it will be outside of Buddy Holly Hall through Friday and encourage anyone interested to stop by and ask questions.