Minnesota Falconers Association
Robert A. Widmeier 1923 -1979
An old friend of American falconry is gone — Bob
Widmeier. At least in part we all owe Bob a
“Thank You.” He was one of the older falconers
here in the U.S.A., one of us that struggled to
learn falconry from books, because there was no
one to observe rst hand. And believe me that’s
the hard way. Many of the old books may have
been written by master falconers, but few, if any,
could express themselves well. It took a lot of
trial and error to work things out.
Can you imagine as a young falconer being able
to visit Mohamed Din’s hawk market and take
your pick from rows of hawks and falcons! Bob
did just that. He was lucky enough to be sta-
tioned in India during part of World War II. And to
put the frosting on the cake he was assigned to
public relations, so he chose to relate by ying
hawks and falcons with the Maharajahs.
Erich, Tom and I used to listen eagerly to his
tales; he may have thrown in a little B.S., but who
hasn’t? Here’s a small sample: “Saheeb, your
shaheen is on the temple tower.” Bob says, “I’m
nished with the hawk, you can have it.” Later
the Indian returns with Bob’s jesses and bells.
The Indian, only a casual acquaintance, had
trapped the falcon, taken the hardware off and
released it. This story suggests to me how life
was in India before over-population made many
people stoop to devious means to survive.
As far as I know, Bob was the rst American to
perfect the Dutch method of trapping falcons.
I can remember very vividly when Erich and I
stopped by Bob’s house on the way back from
hawking in Canada and there were three nice
passage peregrines in his backyard. One was
very dark and red. I have never seen a prettier
Then there was the time we were all in
Saskatchewan hawking (Tom Ennenga, Erich
Awender, Bob and myself). Those were good
days — lots of Chinese re drills, but our few
successes made it all worthwhile. After a hard
day of hunting Erich and I would hit the sack, but
not Tom and Bob! They were off to the local pub.
After one of those nightly outings, they returned
to wake me up and say that my favorite falcon
had been stolen. I ran downstairs and there in
the station wagon was a turkey. It turns out that
Bob had won it in a rafe!
This wouldn’t be complete without mentioning
Bob’s work. He was an artist and a good one.
Many falconers have his paintings to prove it. I
have one, of my Peale’s tiercel knocking down
a sharp-tail. Bob was in Saskatchewan with us
when the kill was made.
In his later years he had given up falconry and
had become a student of the Old West. For many
years now, most of his art work has depicted au-
thentic old Western scenes as Bob thought they
might have happened.
He died quickly of a heart attack, you and I
should be so lucky!
— Dan Cover
As one of three survivors of our foursome
(Widmeier, Ennenga, Cover and Awender) I feel
this is the right place to say “Good Bye” to one
of my best friends. To me, Bob was rst and
foremost a falconer. He was a very gifted art-
ist, indeed, but I think that many of his very best
paintings only conrm his love and fascination
with falconry. He was a complete falconer, too;
he made his own falconry furniture to perfection,
and carried on the tradition of hood making from
the old French master, Ondet. He trapped Dutch-
style or beach-style. He trained his own birds
and hunted them; he painted them and spoiled
them with kindness; he did the same with his
dogs and horses. He walked tall among people
and seemed to be reserved in his manners,
but those who knew him around campres and
blinds never ceased to enjoy his company and
hospitality. He was generous to a fault; my rst
hawk in this country came from Bob, a marvel-
lous male Goshawk. In his search for happiness
he travelled wide and far, and was married four
times. His son, Kent, presented him with a grand-
daughter last year. I have seldom seen Bob more
cheerful and pleased than when he came back
from a shopping trip loaded with presents for little
He was born in Minnesota and died in New
Mexico. I know he loved the North country, and I
believe that had he lived a little longer, he would
have returned. He used to say it is a hard coun-
try and a hard life up North, but he was a hardy
man, and he could take it. He is buried at the
Fort Snelling National Cemetery. I’ll miss you
Bob, Happy Hawking in the Wild Blue Yonder,
and as we used to say to each other at the end
of our hawking trips “A la Vol.”
— Erich Awender
He was a romanticist who could thrill to the dash-
ing ight of a falcon or the unruly power of a wild
horse. And, as an artist, he could depict these
on canvas. Bob loved the mystery and romance
of the primitive world the way God made it, even
the smell of it. And he could impart this through
paint on canvas.
Bob was an excellent falconer, a student of the
art. He ew many good ones. He was always a
free spirit, perhaps “manned” but never tamed by
our structured society. He always found a place
for himself where he could y in his own way.
Now he’s departed on that last great ight and
our world is poorer for it.
And so, friend Bob, until we meet again — “A la
— Thomas Ennenga
NAFA Journal, 1978
Bob with passage female Coopers
Bob with North African Barbary
falcons (male left, female right)
at Falkenhof Farm. Photo by
Clee Sealing. July 1965.
Widmeier, Snitzel and stud hoss!
On the “Lazy W Ranch”
Old Wid on his bike
Spring and fall migrations passed over
Widmeier home near Minneapolis
Hawking chukar in Kashmir
1975 oil painting in Archives collection
At NAFA meet 1964
ca. 1952-54