Diane Boyd and family
oms love for flying
fueled his passion
for falconry and
his career as an Air
Force pilot. Born 2/10/1936
in California, Tom lived in
Milbrae in the San Francisco
Bay area. Even before he was
in his teens, Tom marveled
at the soaring wings of a
red- tail and the dash of a
sharp shin. His passion burst
into action when, at 14 years
old, he learned that hawks
could be caught, trained and
flown free. From that day
forward, Tom found his first
love – Falconry!
In characteristic manner,
when he became interested
in anything he pursued it in depth, he soon learned to make
his own falconry furniture and traps, and began to study the
natural history of raptors including observing birds in the woods
and on the cliffs of the San Francisco peninsula. He quickly
demonstrated his hood making prowess -later becoming an
expert- when he made and regularly used a hood for his first
Thomas (Tom)
1936 – 2017
Written by Diane Boyd
kestrel. The family garage became a mews that housed kestrels,
red- tails, a prairie falcon, a cooper’s hawk, a snowy owl (no one
can remember where he got the owl), and a golden eagle.
He built perches into the back
seat of his car to transport
his birds when he took them
out. It was a great little car in
pristine condition; he should
have been polishing it up to
take girls out on Saturday
After flying birds for a few
years, he had acquired a small
group of comrades that shared
his passion. The group
gathered often enjoying their
birds and their unique hobby
which very few understood.
He was always looking for
ways to earn money, and boy
did he find a great avenue
for that! Since he was always
climbing hills and mountains
looking for birds he also came
across a lot of rattlesnakes. He
began capturing the snakes
and taking them home. He
contacted University of
California to see if they were
willing to buy rattlesnake milk for their research. It was the start
of a relationship that lasted for several years. Tom milked the
snakes and every week he would take it to the U. of California.
This kept him in ‘bird’ money for quite awhile.
As a Master Falconer, he was locally known in the Spokane area
for his inventive perch designs. Tom loved woodworking and
managed to merge the two things he loved: flying falcons and
creating many artistic perch stands, and becoming an expert in
making hoods.
Tom served in Vietnam as a member of the Green Hornets. He
retired after 30 years of flying for the Air Force. During his Air
Force career he accumulated
numerous awards, including
meritorious air medals and
the several Distinguished
Flying Cross medals. Its no
surprise to anyone that knew
Tom he was recognized for
flying over 5,000 hours of
flight time with no accidents.
Tom lived his life with an
adventurous and challenging
attitude. He was interested
in simply life itself and you
couldnt help but be drawn
in by his enthusiasm! He
had a greater understanding
of life than most due to
his love and
devotion to
many winged
partners over
his 40 plus years
as a Master
Caring for and
hunting with
birds of prey
gave Tom a
unique look
at nature –
close up and
personal. His
understanding of falcons was evident in the partnership he had
with them. Over the years, Tom flew everything from a Great
Horned Owl to an Eagle.
Somewhere in Heaven, I know he assigned himself to keeping all
the Angel wings in tip top condition! What else would give him
such happiness!
“Tail winds, Blue Skies and
Happy Landings Tom.”
‘Til we meet again.’