Ronald Brown, Frank Ely, Bob Herrick, Walter Imfeld, Donald Inskeep, Charlie Kai-
ser, Maclovio Lopez, Bill Murphy, Katherine Ng, Tony Robertson, Dewey Savell,
Dave Steele, Terence Tiernan, Wayne Upton, Victor Wong
An Afternoon with Ed Ng
— by Pam Hessey
(Editors note: This past spring (2004), a few of
us went to visit Ed Ng, who was battling cancer.
Ed, his wife Cheryl, Frank and Linda Ely, Jim
DeRoque, Pam Hessey, and I (Charlie Kaiser)
had the pleasure of an afternoon sitting and talk-
ing about falconry with a tape recorder going. I’d
like to thank Lisa Snowden for her transcription of
the recording.)
Pam Hessey: I was one of Ed’s apprentices. He
gave freely of his time and knowledge; that is
invaluable to me. We spent hours talking about
my bird’s progress, my handling techniques, and
Raptor psychology. However, we never got around
to how Ed got started in falconry. Ed said he had
been inspired by two movies he had seen...
Ed: “The rst one was Marco Polo with Gary
Cooper. And I think they had playing opposite of
Gary Cooper a girl named Lana Turner. That one
didn’t have much of a falconry scene.
And then there was another one; it might have
been called the Golden Horde with Genghis Khan.
There was one scene that really turned me on
a princess that was trapped, held prisoner, and
she’s releasing a messenger pigeon. So, these
guys released the hawks, and they ew after the
pigeon. In the next scene, the bad guys got the
message, and the hawk was eating the pigeon.
That left a very lasting impression in my mind.”
I then asked Ed what his very rst bird was...
Ed: “The very rst bird .. .the rst bird was a
Kestrel, the second one was a Kestrel, the third
one came from St. Helena, the winery - and I
thought it was maybe a Goshawk, so I jumped
at the chance of getting this bird from a friend of
mine, a non-falconer. So, when I brought it home,
I told my sponsor, Ken Gammon, to come down.
And he came down, took one look, and he started
laughing. And I said, “What the hell you laughing
about?” He said it’s not - he was slobbering, and
he was stuttering. And he was laughing. He said,
“It’s a red shoulder, Ed.”
When did you have your rst long wing?
Ed: “Ken was getting me different long-wings -
not different long-wings; always prairies. In those
days, say around 1960-ish, very few people
had access to Peregrines. The person with the
Peregrine was really top dog. The people I ew
with in the sixties were big names, they were Louis
Davis, he’s very well-known, you know, back in
those days especially. I think he was also one of
the very rst Peregrine breeders. And he didn’t do
A.I.; he went natural. A guy named Steve Herman.
Ed Cummings was around, Hans Peeters, Jimmy
Adamson, Sterling Bunnell. This was the big group
that - I was a breaking in.
And then I think the next few birds, I had were
Goshawks. That was when I ew Shadow... I
didn’t have a bird then. It might have been Kevin
Condin that gave me the bird. The rst season
Shadow ew with another owner, caught some
rabbits, broke a leg - healed, and that was when
I picked up the bird. The leg - the left leg - was
already healed. She had a little crooked spot on
it, and I had her for all these seasons. She was
a good bird, not a big bird, something like 28, 29
ounces. I think every time somebody wore a scarf
or a hat, the bird never ew well out in the eld.
The bird didn’t hood well, but she stayed on the
st well enough, long enough for game. And that
bird - I kept records on that bird and head count,
and the average that she’s taken is something like
60 head a season times 11 seasons. That’s 600-
something heads. That can range anything from a
mouse to a pheasant, but mostly it’s jackrabbits,
a couple of pheasants, and one blue-winged teal
and squirrels; that’s about it.”
“I ew Goshawks, Coopers, Sharpshins, Merlins.
Nothing unusual. Just - those are all the basic birds
that I went through in my - let’s call it 44 seasons.
Jim DeRoque asked Ed who he had hawked with
in the seventies:
Ed: There was a guy named Wes Stetson, Dick
Warbridge. Both these guys have pretty much
dropped out of falconry. Mike Coins, Bob Sobee,
Oh, yeah, John Pappas. That group. Les Winkler,
Ed Lynch, Lopez; quite a variety. Well, the trade-
off, you know, looking back then to now, today
we have telemetry, we have the balloon method;
we have better advanced medicine. Even the so-
called “giant hood,” that’s something new. They
didn’t have giant hood boxes in my day. I eventu-
ally did one, but I’m sure I copied it from some-
Ed: The Goshawk I had this season chased. But
they were never close slips. I saw him chasing
something, and I know it’s got to be a bunny by the
way he moved. You know, Goshawks, they move
differently than a Harris’ Hawk or a Red-tail. It’s
a little bit quicker on the turn, more erratic. Didn’t
catch anything.”
Ed: “You know, one thing I want to enter into this
get-together is my sponsor, Kenneth Gammon,
he’s not known, even my in my days, not that
known. But there were two things that he did that
I can always reect back on. One of the things
was that he said, “You guys should somehow, one
of these days, breed birds.” In those days, it was
unheard of. A wild hawk, whatever hawk, it cannot
be done. There was a group of us ying, and there
was one woman falconer - she was a good falcon-
er - and she had a Cooper’s Hawk.. The Cooper’s
Hawk was a real good game hawk, but nobody
within this whole macho group could gure out
what sex the bird was. “It’s either a small female or
a large tiercel,” that type of an answer. Ken went
up to her and stuck his ngers up the bird’s vent.
And she never met the guy before, and she was
totally freaked out. He said, “It’s a female.” And
everyone walked away laughing, guring, “What
do you know?” In something, like, two or three
seasons later - the bird laid eggs after eggs. So,
everybody ate crow. So, he said breeding birds
should be something you should do, and he did
that. And then the last thing he did was he sold
hawks. Everybody was really uptight over that,
even I was, because it’s a noble sport, and you
should be trapping your own, right? But what he
did was a little bit different, was that he was selling
imported birds from Pakistan and India, you know,
like Shaheens - or was it Red-headed Merlins?
His approach was that for every bird that was sold
would be one less bird taken from the wild; eyass
or passage. That was his mentality. But he was
still kind of blackballed then.”
Ed then recalled having been given honors as a
visitor at a European Falconry Meet. “What I did
when I went to the falcon masters’ competition in
Europe... All the guy did was give me his bird, be-
cause he was busy emceeing the thing. I took the
hood off; the bird took off and went the highest the
fastest, and they gave me rst prize. That’s why
I said, “Oh, God. This is like embarrassing giving
me rst prize.” So, I think that...I suppose there’s
a lot of political stuff that we could do to improve
our standing.”
Volume 34 Number 2 Fall 2004
Cheryl, Tracy, and Ed Ng
d Ng died May 27, 2004 at the age of 66. He was born and raised in the heart
of San Francisco’s Chinatown, lived in the Bay Area most of his life, settling
in Concord 28 years ago.
He was a graduate of Francisco Junior HS, Washington HS and Heald’s Business
College, in SF. After high school, Ed joined the Navy and served on the USS
Midway. He started his career in the early stages of the computer industry, but
changed direction to join his brothers in the family business of Taylor and Ng,
Inc. for many years. He also operated other small businesses in between.
Ed was the beloved husband for 27 years of Cheryl Wong-Ng, devoted father
of Tracy Ng, and caring relative of an extended family. His three passions in life
were family and friends; the sport of falconry; and support for the good works at
the SF Chinatown YMCA.
Ed’s close friends placed his ashes at this historic and now
reoccupied Peregrine eyrie in central California.
Ed’s friends for perpetuity
A New Day for Ed
— by Cheryl Ng
Early to rise
Check the skies
It looks like a great day for hawking.
Bird on the st
Search through the mist
Bushbeaters do the walking.
Bird on the wing
Dives with a zing
No hesitation or balking.
With perfect aim
Bird takes the game
No time for rest or talking.
Hunting was great
But it’s getting late
It was a great day for hawking.
thing like that, it’s still a new group.”
Charlie Kaiser: “I think part of it is due to - you
have to look at the sponsor as to how committed
the apprentice is going to be. I feel if the sponsor
is very committed to the sport and committed to
the birds, then that attitude is going to transfer to
the apprentice.”
Ed: “You are what you teach. You are what your
sponsor was or could be. You are what your spon-
sor is, in a sense.”
Ed sponsored me in my falconry apprenticeship.
I had asked several people, but Ed was the one
stepped up and offered to take me on. He was
always a generous man. We started out as pupil
and teacher, but I learned so much more than the
basics of falconry from Ed. He gently corrected
my mistakes, and bestowed on me the innite
patience that characterized his life. Ed shared
his home and his family with me, and especially
his joy of little things. He helped me accept the
crushing loss of my rst bird, and was also there
with me when, miracle of miracles, that same bird
came back to me. He gave to me the feeling of
magic, to be able to call a wild bird from the sky to
be my partner. He also taught me to accept losing
a partner with grace and honor. I am still strug-
gling with this lesson...
To nd such a mentor and friend has been a spe-
cial gift in my life; to lose such a man has wrenched
a terrible hole in my spirit. But his strength in ac-
cepting his lot in life, the joys, and the losses, re-
mains with me. The erce joy of calling a hawk
to my st, and the equally intense feeling when it
again leaves. Fly high and free, Ed.
I asked Ed if he recalled any funny incidents that
happened to him when he was ying...
Ed: “I did the typical rushing a duck pond with de-
coys in it... and I just had an e-mail from my friend
Mike, Mike Crago. He said he ew his bird one time
and knocked a pheasant into the bushes. Then,
a couple of days later, he was ying the same
eld, and the bird came down and went into some
bushes, and pulled out a frozen pheasant! What
happened was that he knocked down a pheasant
several days before and it ran into this same bush.
It died in the bush, so the bird came out with this
frozen pheasant. I think there’s one or two stories
that I always like to tell people, because I myself
get a good laugh out of it.
One was about this guy, his name is Rob Bell; he’s
a goshawk guy. He went shing, and somewhere
along the shore he saw this Goshawk eating a
squirrel or something. And he chased the bird. The
bird didn’t carry the squirrel, so Rob gured, “What
the hell, I’ll just put a big noose around the squir-
rel and see what happens.” And sure enough, the
Goshawk came back, and he snagged him with a
shing pole. That’s how he caught the Goshawk.
The funny thing was when he was retrieving the
bird - he wasn’t pulling it in. He had to go toward
the bird, but he had to go over branches and un-
der stuff. And then he nally got to the Goshawk
and grabbed him.
Another one was Ray Turner. He’s a reghter.
He was out ghting a re one evening - forest re
- and he looked up at the tree, and there was a
young downy Cooper’s up there. So, he put his
hose up there, wetted him down, blasted him
off the tree, took him home and had himself a
Cooper’s Hawk.”
Ed: “People - falconers throw money away on
falconry. Here’s a good one about Jim deRoque.
We went to Montana, and we had a duck ight.
The duck landed up in the water; he wouldn’t ush.
The duck was in pretty much of a fairly frozen
pond, and Jim was going in to try to ush it while
the Peregrine’s ying around. Jim was throwing
pebbles at it at the beginning. Then pretty soon I
see him ipping rocks. I said, “What are you do-
ing?” Then there was all this loose change- he was
throwing money at the duck to get him to y. And
I said, “Shit, this guy is really wanting to get that
ight.” The duck got hit, and it spun around. And
every time the falcon comes in it’d hit that duck
again and spin him around. And you can measure
the puddles of blood from here to there. Eventually
the duck ew, and Jim’s bird caught him. It was a
rat race, but that was a funny ight, because he
was in ice water.”
Jim deRoque: “On that same Montana trip - Cheryl
just found out about this the other day - we were
driving home. We were with Ed Cummings and
Val Fairman. And they were in the car in front of
us, and we were driving, and it was about 2:00
in the morning. And we pulled over and Ed and I
switched. I said, “Are you okay to drive, Ed?” “Oh,
yeah.” He’s wide awake. I looked at the clock, and
it was, like, 2:05 am. And then we’re driving along,
and I wake up; it’s 2:15. I look over at Ed, and Ed
is like this (head back, mouth wide open), sound
asleep! His arms were straight, but his head was
back, and his mouth was open... I yelled at him. It
was probably the worst thing I could have done.”
I asked Ed what positions he has held in the past
for CHC, and what he sees for the future of our
Ed: “I’ve been apprentice chair, director and di-
rector at large. That’s about it, helped out on the
rafe... a lot of stuff. I guess the old-timers, we all
seem to see that there’s a new wave of falconers
coming in. It’s a new wave, a new mentality, new
spirit, new approach. So, it’s not even just buying
a bird, telemetry, Internet. I see the educational
stuff. I see that through you guys, that kind of a
promotion. A lot of old-timers say, “They’re just
like pet-keepers- a little bit more than pet-keep-
ers. They like to go to these Scottish Game Fairs
to promote falconry; they like to do other educa-
tional stuff, you know.” Well, in a sense we did
that too when we went to the Cow Palace, right?
That was the beginning of it all, of all our meeting
with the public. This was at the boat show, we’d
get a booth. And there would be people with shot-
guns there, dogs there. That’s what we’re doing.
From there it seems to have escalated more into
the educational side.
I see a totally new group. They’re not as - they’re
not like what we were. I guess nobody will ever be
like us, so fanatical. Even if they don’t have the
opportunity to buy things on the Internet, some-
Cheryl and Ed with Wally Imfeld