Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays

Beginning last year, I made my own holiday cards to give to friends and family. I used my camera to find some appropriate view of the winter wilderness. Last year it was a frozen tangle of Bittersweet. This year, Texas mistletoe. The trees here are parasitised by this plant which gained holiday status through old tradition and custom. I decided to post the images here as well, to share with my online friends.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'll keep this post short and sweet . . . but I think it needs to be written. So far, everything has progressed very well with the training of my new bird. The one step that remains is getting him "entered" . . . that is . . . catching something. After all, what I am practicing is Falconry, which is defined as a sport that catches wild quarry with a trained raptor. Cimarron is doing everything he is supposed to. We get out to hunt about three to four times a week. He follows well, if not very close, and always returns when I call him. However, the limitation I am facing is the apparent lack of rabbits in the Abilene area. I have found many places that look perfect, and should have bunnies, but are bunny poor. It's very frustrating! A couple weekends ago I was in Ft Worth and got the wonderful opportunity to go out hawking with a group of falconers in that area. I got to see a group hunt with Harris Hawks. Soon, it was my turn, and I did get one very good slip which my bird saw late, but still followed. Very quickly the local red tailed hawk also followed, and I had to run across the field to get to him and prevent the red tail from getting too close. Love those red tail hawks . . . but they could kill my little Harris Hawk boy. Also, unfortunately, the hunt day was cut short, as I brought my father out into the field with me, and helped him up a short incline to wait on the side. While we were in the field he headed back to the car, and fell and sustained a lot of bruises and scrapes. We spent the evening in the Emergency Room. Fortunately, he is fine, though sore for several days. I feel bad about his getting hurt! I have accepted the invitation of several land owners in the area, yet still have had only a handful of slips. I'm beginning to wonder if I need to explore other possible prey species. Starlings are an option, but I've never hunted them. Abilene does have an abundance of Grackles, but they are native species, which makes them pretty much off limits. However I was told by the falconers in Ft Worth that if they form large pest flocks, can be hunted under an exception in the law for "abatement". That may be an option once I understand the legal issues. There is a place not far from here where they flock at night and poop all over everything. It may be an option. I don't feel comfortable to try and car hawk. I've heard of it, and seen it on video, but never participated myself . . . and really need someone else to drive to do this. Not knowing pretty much anyone in Abilene, this option is not open to me. I did make a T-perch, and he took right to it, so his ability to learn new things quickly is very good. Hopefully, we'll find some options, and soon. It's very FRUSTRATING!!