One of the first things I've had to do upon arriving in Texas is to transfer my license from Wisconsin. Falconry in America is a joint license process. The Federal Government sets regulations, which have recently been updated, and then each state decides if they will allow falconry, and then draft their own laws which must either meet or exceed the Federal regulations. My Federal license is current, and good for two more years. I've submitted my application, and money, to acquire the Texas license. Upon receipt of my request, the state coordinator with the Fish & Game must coordinate with a local warden for an inspection of facilities. That happened this last Tuesday. Now I wait the final bureaucratic steps to issue my license.
In the meantime, I have started to drive around the area, familiarize myself with the terrain, and look for and analyze the hawk population. So far I've mostly just seen adults. We call them haggards. I was surprised yesterday to spot a Great Horned Owl. He was unmistakable, sitting atop the telephone pole, with his big tufts. I also was surprised today to find a dead Barn Owl, tangled in a tall fence. I checked its carcass for any leg bands. Found none. So there are two species I wasn't expecting.
I'm keeping a watch on the migration at Hawk Ridge up in Minnesota. As the push from Canada in the migration flock increases, our hawks down here will most likely increase as well. Rich has coordinated with my upcoming work schedule to come visit me for a few days on October 19 - 23. If I have my license by then (hope so) and I've not trapped a hawk by then, we are going hawk trapping together. Always fun to do with someone, and easier if someone else drives the car.
I'll be looking for a juvenile hawk. The picture above is one of a juvenile. We only take first-year hawks, as they are the easiest to train, but also they do not represent the breeding population, the adult population. There is about a 70% death rate of first year birds, so we as falconers make no impact upon that population. In fact, the birds we take are given a greater advantage, as we give them a safety net to learn and perfect their hunting. After all, if we don't have success in the field, we still take our bird home and feed her. Many falconers trap hawks for only one season, and release them in the spring. They go along their way, and return to the wild with no ill effects for the training we put upon them.
It is progress I've made . . . getting ready for the new season. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.
New Beginnings! Sometimes in a life these opportunities come to us, willingly or otherwise. I have been living just such a new beginning for about a month. For good, or for ill, this is where my path finds me at this time in my life.
I expect that most of the visitors to this blog will have followed a link from my previous creation, Ladyhawker. If you just happened to stumble upon this new creation, come visit the past. There I documented the first years of my practice of falconry. I told tales of my hunts, the birds that I was fortunate to share them with, the people I met through falconry, my perspectives, my opinions. It was a labor of love, and creativity. There I also shared pictures of journeys to other places, and the views I captured with my camera. I plan to continue that activity in this blog. But also in that past blog, I allowed to creep much of the emotions of my journey through divorce, and the struggles I encountered to decide, and to create a new life. I felt it was important, NOW, with much of that old life gone into the ashes . . . . that I create a new place to share my love and my passion for an activity, a sport, that has given me such joy these last many years.
So, thus begins a very new chapter in my life!
I took a year off from falconry in 2008 because I knew I simply would not have the time to devote to keeping and hunting a bird. It was a hard decision, but I think a responsible one as a falconer. Now, that time draws to an end. Soon . . . . . . I hope to have a bird on my fist again.
So . . . . where to begin? I guess, I could document WHERE I am at. In May of 2009 I graduated from a community college in Wisconsin, with an Associates of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy. For reasons of family, and a need to acquire experience, I searched for a first job in the Dallas / Ft. Worth and surrounding areas. I was interviewed and hired by a hospital in Abilene, Texas. Through a lot of work, money, and the unthankable assistance of my very best friend, and yes, I'll admit here now, my fiance, Rich, I was able to move enough of my stuff to be comfortable, and more importantly, my falconry facilities, to the "Big Country" of Texas. I have been long away from this state, and really, it feels somewhat alien to me now.
I have been in my new job for over a month now. It is a learning experience, and an adjustment. I work the third shift, which is taking some adapting by me, but I'm starting to feel just a little comfortable. This is an area that will require a lot of growth, and the acquisition of experience. It will take an incredible amount of my energy and focus over the next year, for that is the window that I am granting, at this time. My heart carries me back to the North. For so long I wanted to escape Wisconsin, and I have, but there is a new life waiting for me in Minnesota. In time, I will return there.
So . . . . I wait! As I have had to do so very much of these last several years. My facilities are prepared. I have been cutting leather, and organizing all my equipment. I await the officer at the Texas Fish & Wildlife to process my falconry permit. Once in hand, I will set out to find myself a new hunting companion, to trap her, and to train her, and together to learn where the bunnies and squirrels are to be had here in the Big Country. As before, I will document with pictures and with text, but may leave out certain details, as this open forum is accessible to all through the Internet, and it is not my wish to cause any harm to falconry, it's practice, or its practitioners.
Come now and share my love of all things raptorial . . . . . and of the most unique experience of living through and in the world through their eyes.
Falconry! Or more appropriately for me, Hawking! It is a passion, and a way of life. I happily pursue this sport, with the loving assistance of my husband. Come along with me for our adventures with the birds. Primarily we actively pursue it in the colder months . . . the rest of the time I try to make this blog as interesting as possible. Come let me share my stories, and feel free to contact me. I always enjoy talking about my obsession with this sport.