Vahe’ Alaverdian moved from Los Angeles to Wyoming’s upper Green River Basin in 2015. The master falconer chose the region for its wide-open sagebrush landscape and vast expanse of public lands.
The area is prime habitat for the greater sage grouse. Alaverdian is obsessed with the sporting challenge of hunting greater sage grouse with a bird dog and falcon, he said — and there’s no better place in the world to do it than here.
“This place is my shrine,” Alaverdian said. “I moved here for the open spaces and quiet landscape of sagebrush that I love.”
The sagebrush shrine is also a critical component of Alaverdian’s livelihood.
His company, Falcon Force, employs the natural predator-prey relationship to control nuisance birds. His clients include vineyards, blueberry- and cherry-crop growers, theme parks, golf courses and airports — almost exclusively on the West Coast. He relies on Wyoming’s sagebrush landscapes and greater sage grouse to train his falcons.
There are other methods and places to train falcons, but he considers Wyoming the “Cadillac” of sport falconry.
“The health of this landscape means everything about why I moved here, how I enjoy this and how I train dogs out here, train the falcons,” Alaverdian said. “Just driving around looking at wildlife on a daily basis … is a very important part of my lifestyle.”