The photographer Palani Mohan documents the bond between man and bird in the Mongolian mountains: http://nyr.kr/1MSMM1M Photographs by Palani Mohan / Courtesy Merrell Publishers
  1. Eagle hunters belong to traditional nomadic clans from Mongolia’s Khazakh minority.
    B0e2b213 3250 4305 97e6 b4f634b581f5
    Many of the men talk about loving the eagles like their own children.
  2. Birds are captured and domesticated at four years old.
    E027258b db41 4d19 ae2f 1718ceb37e07
    That’s when they’re old enough to know how to hunt but young enough to be pliable to human company and training.
  3. Only female birds are used for hunting.
    Ce7f7100 caa0 4872 9269 62378b476e0f
    They’re larger—with an eight-foot wingspan—and fiercer hunters.
  4. Eagles hunt foxes and other animals.
    E0f90b86 7080 4874 ac70 bae7f5f9e77c
    They spot their prey from high up in the mountains.
  5. During winter hunts, temperatures can drop to forty below.
    F863ca6e fad0 4d5f 88c5 4622e9c9a587
  6. There are only about fifty or sixty eagle hunters left.
    6caa556e 837d 4c0d b8ef 8e141faad74c
    A ninety-three-year-old hunter says that young people “want only to be inside, in the warm, and they keep their eagles just for festivals and treat them as pets.”
  7. Eagles can live for thirty years.
    8cfea759 db8b 4993 a58c b8e388005ab7
    But hunters keep each one for only about ten years, then release it to live out its last years in the wild.