Bob Collins, Mike & Karen Yates
Erich Awender
Devoted Husband and Father, Medical
Doctor, Lifelong Falconer, and True
Erich Awender, M.D., and his lovely wife Heidi
immigrated to the United States from Austria in
the early 1950’s. Prior to Erich’s arrival in the
US, Erich’s father wrote to Corny McFadden and
asked him to help Erich become established with
his falconry in the US. A fascinating friendship
and correspondence ensued (the details of which
can be found at the Archives of Falconry). Erich
and Heidi loved wildlife. They settled in Freeport,
Illinois where Erich had a successful medical
practice. They built a beautiful home complete
with breeding chambers and a brick hawk house.
Their home was landscaped with trees imported
from Austria. Their yard was the perfect play-
ground for their beloved English Setters. Heidi
always had a Drathair as a house/eld dog. They
brought their setters with them from Europe and
kept that strain of setters going all their lives. All
were beautiful, award winning dogs.
Erich and Heidi bought a farm outside of
Freeport as a base camp for his falconry. They
loved wildlife and the farm was groomed to maxi-
mize wildlife habitat. They had “pet” whitetail doe
which they protected with a blaze orange vest
during hunting season. Erich commissioned a lo-
cal artist to create a ag for the farm which was
own only when a visiting peregrine was being
own on the property.
Erich was a lifelong falconer who was most
generous to his fellow falconers. He was a
strong supporter of the Great Lakes Falconers
Association and NAFA. He and Heidi attended
almost all the NAFA meets. Erich’s hawking hat,
with falconry pins from all over the world, was
of interest to all falconers, young and old. Erich
and his good friends Dan Cover, Tom Ennenga,
and Bob Widmeier pioneered hawking on the
great plains of the western US and Canada.
Their annual hawking trips out west were pure
Heidi and Erich had one child, Ralph, who tragi-
cally died of a heart attack shortly after Erich’s
death. Ralph was devoted to his father and
took Erich’s death especially hard. Losing both
Erich and their only child within days, Heidi’s
world turned upside down. Later, Heidi would
tell friends and family that “Life is so short, your
loved ones are so precious, one must treasure
every moment.”
During the days of the Peregrine as an endangered species,
Erich commissioned a flag to fly on his farm whenever a
Peregrine was flown.
Feb. 27, 1975
The Awenders: Erich, Heidi and son Ralph.
Freeport, Illinois 1965
Nov. 1981
Good friend and life-long hawking partner,
Dan Cover, with Erich and Heidi
Erich Awender – Renz Waller – Dick Glasow, 1976