Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Drive By Trapping
Here's my guy holding a recently trapped passage red-tailed hawk, which he is about to let go. A few days ago I was driving through the Yucatan Valley in Minnesota, and saw a fairly dark juvenile hawk. I didn't have any trap bait with me (live mice or rats) even though I did have the traps. I then went into my work weekend, so thought it unlikely the bird would still be in the area three days later, but I'd try it anyway. I had a meeting on Monday at work, so left an hour early to scan the valley in the daylight (I'm now currently driving to work and back in the dark). I drove through the valley, then doubled back on a parallel road, and re-drove half of the valley . . . and that is when I spotted this dark bird. So far this season, I am not having a great falconry experience. That is, I did trap a really nice bird, and he trained quickly, and I have really good field control over him . . . but I am just not finding enough game for him. He refuses to chase squirrels, which we do have, will go after rabbits, which I am not finding enough of, and usually takes mice. Whooopee! I have also been out trapping several times and caught nothing. I was surprised that within 10 minutes of spotting this bird, he was in hand. Taking him home and checking him over, he turned out to be a small (though well fed) male. Rich came with me back to where he was trapped and the bird was released. My license has room for another bird. If I happened to trap a really good sized (and preferably dark) female, I'd consider keeping her. It's ironic but on the same day I saw two other birds which were set up great for trapping. I think one turned out to be a Rough Leg Hawk, a species we don't use in falconry, so I didn't set a trap out. The other I did try for, and may have caught with time, but it was late in the day and darkness ended my further attempts. I'll keep searching for those bunny hot spots . . . . they seem to be a rare thing!