Tim Sell, Richard Musser, California Hawking Club, Frank Ely,
Nancy Mousel and family.
I met Jon in 1964. He was only 14, introduced
himself and then proclaimed “I’m a Falconer.
A very intense guy with piercing blue eyes a
adventurous spirit, there was an essence about
him. I was intrigued!
We started dating. Our dates consisted of
going hawking all day. On occasion with Jon
was determined to trap a bird. I realized that
falconry was a passion with him and would
be a big part of his life. This was confirmed
on our first prom. Our prom picture includes
Jon, his Coopers Hawk and myself.
The day we got married (8-3-1969) we left S.
Calif., with our best friend and fellow falconer
Wayne Upton.
Our destination ALASKA OR BUST! Let the
adventure begin!
Upon arrival at the Canadian border (the
incident happened), we were detained for
two days because Jon had brought with us a
flock of pigeons in a coop on top of the truck/
camper. The custom agents didn’t know if the
pigeons could come across the border as there
were no current rules permitting pigeons
through customs. We were the first.
Just try to separate a falconer from his pigeons
.. well, that was just NOT going to happen!
When we settled in Alaska we lived the wild
frontier life, building a small log cabin with a
sawdust floor and living off the grid, making
adjustments along the way. Jon was happy
in this environment … hunting, fishing,
kayaking, and flying birds.
Learning that I was pregnant I wanted to
return to S. California the have our baby
girl “Heather”. When she was 3 months we
started making our way back to Alaska, but it
was quite the journey. Over the next ten years
we lived in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and
Montana before settling in Girdwood Alaska.
19 years later we retired and moved to Hawaii
where we have lived 21 wonderful years
We were able to enjoy 54 years together.
Jons passions were family, falconry and
The two things I remember Jon saying were
.. “Live your passions” and “Stay true to
Love is eternal (by his loving wife Nancy).
Jon and Nancy’s Grandchildren Chase, Haley and Gracie
My life adventures with Jon
by his loving wife, Nancy
by Tim Sell
I met Jon in 1972 in Canon City, Colorado. I was a
13 year old kid who had a love of raptors and I had
heard of falconry but thought it was a sport of the
Then Jon moved in two blocks up the street. His
backyard was a classic scene, a goshawk on a ring
perch and a prairie falcon on a block. I was spell
bound and found my master falconer. Jon was a
beautiful person and a bird whisperer’s whisperer.
I saw Jon catch a wild, passage prairie falcon and
fly it free and under control in ten days. His manor
with hawks was slow and precise and reminded
me of the story of Pells hooding the falcon with
style and grace. During one of our field meets at
Tangle Lakes Alaska, Jons tiercle gyrfalcon went
up to a pitch of 1500 or so feet and stooped at a
flushed ptarmigan with a crackling stoop - mind
you, this was before the advent of balloons and
kites. We were
all astounded
introduced to
the next level
of falconry
that day!
Jon was the
first to take
a Peregrine
in the USA
after the DDT
The Peales
falcons were
Jon with parents George and
Emile and siblings Susan and Jim
legal in Alaska. Jon fearlessly found that first Peales
eyrie and risked his life getting to it. Although a
falconer for over fifty years, he never molted out
a hawk or really had a bloodlust for hunting with
them. He was happy to share a moment in time
with them and then moved on. His birds were
always in top condition and super shape.
His final falconry adventure was much like many
of our old timers fall into. Jon and Nancy moved
to Kona, Hawaii. Jon tamed a haggard Hawaiian
hawk. Hed called it in daily to say hello and serve it
up a dove. God’s speed Jon. Love ya!
Dick, Jon and Tim
Group at Tangle Lakes