I am a woman falconer, enjoying the Great Outdoors with a hawk on my fist.
Monday, November 15, 2010
So I decided to hunt my bird today. I wanted to hunt him yesterday, but he was still so over flight weight on Sunday he was not safe to fly. I used a road killed baggie squirrel on him last Thursday, and he ate so much, and it must be very rich meat, it has taken days and days for him to burn off the meal. Even today he was 25 grams higher than I usually fly him, but it has been cold, and he was acting so very hungry and motivated I decided to risk it. Rich was available to come with me today. Because my bird was not at a spectacular weight, I decided to just stay near home. We tried the park in town, as it is loaded with squirrels, and there are spots where bunnies might be found that I had not kicked up yet.
When we arrived, we flushed/saw about 4 squirrels. We walked around with the bird flying about, but just never got him and them lined up that he would see them and consider chasing. Much later in the day I dug out my wrist rocket to put in my gear . . . if I had it today I could probably have gotten a tree rat to move that was plastered to the branch, out of view from the hawk. It knew we were not the thing to avoid, but that bird!
So we moved off to the brushy stuff. We did eventually flush a bunny, and chased it around a bit. The hawk moved up over the hill, and we followed, only to find him on top of a power pole where a squirrel had been bumped. He saw the squirrel, and did dive for it, but missed . . . so he will try for them. I'll have to continue to encourage this. I'm also reminded today that eventually I'd like to have a hawking dog. Some of that hillside could have been much easier covered by a small, mobile dog.
So after the squirrel dive, and a little more flying around, I saw the bird make a bee-line towards an open area off to the left of the field. I followed as fast as I could . . . only to find him on a snake when I got there. He had already killed the snake, but did not seem to be at all interested in eating it. I've had this happen before . . . my last RT Nina killed a garter snake too . . . but would not eat it. What a waste! So my 'fierce' little tiercel red tail has killed one bunny, about 4 mice and one snake. We'll keep working at it to get a better outcome to the hunt.
BTW . . . I brought the snake home and even the barn cats were not particularly thrilled with eating it, but eventually they did. I guess no one likes snakes, alive or dead!
Below is a gratuitous pic of my cute little pomeranian dog that used to belong to my mother. She's killing a chew toy. If it wasn't for the fact that she is so fluffy, I'd consider trying her as a hawking dog . . . she seems game enough for it . . . but that coat would pick up burdock worse than I would . . . and I'd be spending a lot of time teasing it out of her.
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.