Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Season Winding Down

Last week we were teased with the impending spring to come.  The temperatures warmed above freezing, some days even touching the 50s.  A great amount of the snow on the ground began melting, and the walkways became much more safe.  Then this past weekend, we had another storm come through.  My particular area of far South-East Minnesota did not get the amount of snow and ice that we were potentially forecast for, but we still got a few inches to again cover all the walkways with a mixed snow/crunchy ice layer.  Rich and I got out yesterday for a hunt, hoping with the melt that some bunnies may be found, but they continue to be very elusive.  Above he waits for us to flush something for him.  You can see his nictitating membrane as it flicks across his eye.  Below he found his reflection, thinking it was another hawk that was just his size, and perhaps he should fight with it.  Neither hawk nor reflection were harmed!  
It has been a difficult hawking season, for me.  I've established a few places to fly my bird, but I need to work over the summer to acquire permission for many more.  The snow has been a challenge, and I think the bunny population is very low as well.  I hope they get busy here this next summer and make lots more of themselves.  I've made a 'To-Do' list for myself and hope my efforts on the off months will improve my outcomes for next year.  There are still a few days left until February is over, and I will try to hunt as many of them as I can.  I will then fatten Bailey up a bit, build up his calorie reserves, then release him to continue his mouse-hunting life.  He's a pleasant little hawk . . . great if he was a 'pet' . . . but we do not keep pets in falconry.  Hopefully next year I can trap a big female gamehawk, who will hunt the squirrels we do have, and improve my falconry endeavors here in Minnesota.

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