Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Rainy Bunny Catch


There was a steady misty rain / snow shower all day.  Rich and I took Kali to the park in Spring Grove, to test her on squirrels.  That park, which is normally teaming with tree rats, was rather quiet today, they all staying inside their warm nests.  A few were pushed around, but not many to test Kali's willingness to go after them.  She did chase a few, down into the creek (of course) where it is a heck of a lot harder for the humans to follow.

We then relocated up the park some to a brushy area that sometimes has rabbits. Sure enough, Rich popped one out, and I watched her pursue it from a distance, towards me, beyond me, down the creek bed, and whack it as it tried to run up the other side.  Everything is covered in a steady cold rain, so slippery.  It didn't hinder her at all to bringing her second bunny to the bag.  I'm loving this girl!






Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Training for Kali, and her First Bunny

The final days of my new hawk's training in my yard, just prior to going to a large open field for long flights, and then free flying.  Rich is filming with our new GoPro Hero 5.  The sharpness of the image is a great improvement on our previous one.  The trainer (me) is very much in casual, comfy home clothes.  Don't look at me . . . look at the beautiful bird.



You'll be able to see in the video before the reason I have decided to name my bird Kali.  After free lofting her, once she was settling into manning, she scraped her cere (the fleshy skin just above the beak) on something, and gave herself what looks like a bindi, the round spot that Hindu's mark on their "third eye".  For that reason, I chose a formidable Hindu goddess, Kali.



This was our first free flight with the new bird hunting bunnies.  She seems to know about them.  Again, the image is so much sharper than our previous GoPro.  It took me awhile to get to him as I was in a very thick tangle when Kali went for her bunny, and on my way to her found myself in a marsh.  Rich had the quicker, high ground route.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The New Girl


I had high hopes that setting up a bow netting blind this year would allow me to trap multiple birds to choose from as they passed through on migration, but the migration has been slow this year.  Sometimes, the flow gets going late due to warm weather, and also sometimes the birds just don't pass through our area in high numbers.  After limited success at my bow netting site, and some road trapping, I found her!


Appropriately, she was hanging out on a T-post nearby this company.  I was able to lay out my trap on a grassy patch out beside the building, and with minimal observation from those passing by, I convinced her to try for my rats.


She is a VERY BIG GIRL, as far as red tailed hawks go.  I have seen bigger, but not often.  That weight is 49.7 ounces, or 3 lbs, 1 and almost 2 ounces.  That is firmly in the female red tailed hawk range.  She is very well fleshed, so I will be doing some work to shave some of that off as I train her.  My former sponsor, Dave, believes that some of the largest red tails can be had in our area, as we are right on the edge of their winter range.  Many territorial red tails stay on their territory in our southern Minnesota and Central Wisconsin.  As long as there is enough food, they will stay.  However, a large number of birds up in Canada have to leave due to there not being enough food to sustain them through the winter.  This allows us the opportunity to trap pretty big birds.

I actually think I might have trapped her in her natal territory, as there were two other adult hawks very near the area, visible to me, and to her, and they were not concerned about her at all, which leads me to think she might by their offspring.


She has some pretty respectable meat hooks on her.  She has pinched me a few times through the glove.  She should be quite capable of taking on squirrels.


I have not named her yet.  As I spend more time with her I'm sure I'll come up with some ideas.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Quest for a New RT Hunting Partner

Much thanks to my place of employment for granting me 2 glorious weeks off during what I hope is the peak of Red Tail migration.  I want to add a Red Tail to my hunting team.  I really need a big, aggressive hawk (female) to go after squirrels.  Wyvern liked chasing them last year, but I need to discourage that to preserve her toes.

It has been unusually warm this year, and the migration (as monitored through Hawk Count through Duluth) has been fairly slow, for Red Tailed Hawks.  It is forecast to be clear, dry, and more specifically, colder for the next week.  I will be "hawk stalking" the roads some, and "hawk fishing" on a hillside I have permission on.

I feel like keeping track of my efforts.


Date
Trapping Mode
Weight
Comment
Fate





10/8
Bow Netting
900 g
1st bird of season
Male - Released
10/8
Road Trapping/BC
1280 g
Only female so far
My apprentice’s bird!





10/17
Road Trapping/BC
992 g
Large crop!
Male - Released





10/18
Bow Netting
1009 g

Male - Released
10/18
Bow Netting
1042 g

Male - Released
10/18
Bow Netting
1020 g

Male - Released





10/19
Bow Netting
815 g
Tiny but Fierce
Male - Released





10/20
Road Trapping/BC
1081 g

Male - Released
10/20
Bow Netting
1043 g

Male - Released









Where the heck are the




FEMALES????





10/21 to 10/23


A lot of driving around and sitting in a blind, but no Action!






10/24
Road Trapping/BC
1420 g
OMG!!
Female – My New Partner


I'll update this, until I catch "the One".  Hopefully she is out there, and I won't spend all of my 2 weeks off trying to locate her.  I really have a lot of other things I could do around my home with some of the extra time (clean the garage . . . pull weeds and get gardens ready for winter . . . clean my hawk shack . . . get Flint flying (he is close) . . . . continue to shave weight off Wyvern).