Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meeting Another Falconer

Today I spent a wonderful day in Rochester meeting another falconer who I've exchanged e-mails with for some time. We spent the day chasing bunnies and hawks, and generally talking each other's ears off. He is, by his own admission, in 'falconry purgatory', as he is birdless right now. He and his wife moved to Rochester this year into a house which, as he says, will be wonderful for kids (which is good as his wife is pregnant with their first child) but not so great for setting up a mews. So falconry is on hold for him right now as life is happening. Today I helped him get a falconry fix. We met up early in the morning and proceeded to check out a couple spots that he thought might be good for hawking. He's really not sure what to look for here in the upper Midwest as he has hawked in Idaho and Arizona. I made a point of introducing him to burdock . . . one of my 'favorite' plants. Eventually we went West to Byron, to the spot I've found which does have rabbits. We worked down and up the patch next to the rail road, flushing lots of bunnies, and Bailey did stoop on several, and on one did catch it, enough for the bunny to wail for quite awhile, but as I was making my way over to help him, he lost his grip and it got away . . . again. He really needs to learn to grab them things by the head! He was a bit high in his weight, and as the day wore on, and the tidbits added up, and it got warmer (and windier) my field control over him was straining . . . so we called it quits and called him down to the lure. We met up with his wife for lunch, and continued to talk hawk the whole time. She was very patient and didn't mind. After lunch, with him not needing to come home for any 'honey-do's' he went out with me again to 'hawk stalk'. We never did spot any juvenile hawks, only seeing one bird which at first we both thought was a juvie, and we even dropped a trap. However, once we got a chance to really take a good look at 'her' (appeared to be a pretty large bird) she was an adult, which we call a haggard. She was quite a light colored bird, having more of a rosy tail, not dark brick red, and her head was more grayish than redish. She was BEAUTIFUL!! Too bad she was an adult! The above sign makes no sense at all . . . . since the area behind it is a public park! We had a very good day, and I look forward to many more hunts searching for bunny spots in the area. Thanks Paul!!

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