Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bal Chatri Trapping

I've been doing a lot of surfing for videos lately, looking for any regarding bow netting, or Bal Chatri (BC) trapping of hawks. A different search on a different day will bring new videos you've never seen. I found this one, which is quite clear. It's almost a calm presentation of what is usually a very tense and exciting time, back at the car, behind the binoculars, as we watch to see if the hawk is caught. As you can see, it takes quite awhile until the hawk truly demonstrates that it is caught, so the falconer doesn't move in right away. I'm impressed that even though this hawk may have been caught early on it's time on the trap, it continues to be VERY interested in that rat. I told Rich this also demonstrates one vital piece of equipment our trapping has lacked . . . a camera!

BTW . . . I'm getting very excited about this next trapping season. There is still a month and a half to go until it opens, and at least 2 before I can reasonably hope to see passage red tails . . . but kestrels should be more easy to find by late August. I'm also going to be sharing the experience with a new apprentice . . . infecting him with my own enthusiasm (obsession). It's a good "disease" to transmit to the right people.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Telemetry Decisions

I'm thinking about buying new telemetry for this upcoming season.  I currently have two of the same brand of leg mounted transmitters, one of which is now dead, dead, dead.  The other is showing some signs that it wants to go the same way.  Because of this I'm motivated to try a different brand of transmitter, and take this opportunity to explore mounting other than on the leg.  The most complicated, yet apparently most effective method is through installation of a "back pack".  I'm not certain if there are any competition models, but I'm researching the Marshall Track Pack.  Here are a couple videos that demonstrate how to put it on the bird.

As a side note . . . I must say I am completely impressed with the tiercel they used as the model.  Sometimes he almost looks stuffed, he sits so very calmly while this whole procedure is taking place.

Track Pack Installation 1

Track Pack Installation 2

Here is a photographic demonstration from Marshall.

I'm planning to take a small falcon this season, as well as a red tailed hawk.  It will be either a kestrel, or if I am lucky with my bow netting efforts, a merlin.  (Here is a nice, short and well filmed video on merling training.)  However, I'm thinking it would be wise for me to work with the kestrel first, with the goal of getting the merlin in a subsequent year, after the "practice" with the smaller falcon.  Here is a little video with a suggestion for telemetry mounting for a kestrel.

Kestrel Telemetry

Anyone know of a video showing tail mounting, other than just the clamp on, which I saw?  I'm open for suggestions too, if anyone want to e-mail me with them, or their experiences.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Inspiring an Artist

In January 2009 I was able to make a fabulous trip to Peru.  One of the highlights of the visit was being able to meet Jose Antonio Otero Corbetto, and tour his raptor facility, El Huayco.  If you've not found my previous blog, please come visit and view the pictures of the trip here!

This particular blog entry has generated the most comments and requests to contact Jose, and to find out more information about the birds he keeps and breeds.  Recently I was contacted by an artist, Katie Grider, who asked if she could use some of these pictures as inspiration for her art.  Not having any kind of copyright on my pictures, nor any income from them, I didn't mind sharing my work.  Here is the result of her labor, with the inspiring picture following.

Black and White Hawk Eagle

Please come and visit her online store, to either purchase a print of her work, or view her other watercolors.  This is the link.

This is MY original link to my posting about Peru, and specifically my time at El Huayco. Come visit here and here2.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eagle on a Silo

This Sunday morning I was sitting outside, having a cup of coffee, and reading a book.  I began to notice the farm yard birds (grackles and red-winged blackbirds and starlings) were alarm calling.  I looked up, and saw the very large bird above on top of the 70 foot silo.  At first I thought it might be a red tailed hawk.  There is a pair that have nested on the farm for several years, however unfortunately not this year at the usual location.  They have been seen, so may have moved their nest further into the woods.  I got my binoculars to get a closer look.
It was NOT a red tailed hawk . . . but instead, a juvenile Bald Eagle.
I am guessing this may be a second year juvenile, possibly three.  First year Bald Eagles have a black beak.  As you can see above, the beak is yellowing up.  However, the eyes are still brown.  Adults have yellow-golden eyes.  Adults also have the white head and tail, which they do not acquire until about their fourth or fifth year.  Until that time, they are very brown and white splotchy.

The eagle stayed in position for about an hour, basking in the morning sunshine, preening his or her feathers.  I have no idea what sex the bird may have been without being able to compare to another bird.  She or he gave me plenty of time to get my spotting scope out and set up, and to also take some digital pictures.  Again, the view through my scope was outstanding!  My camera just does not capture what I'm seeing.  It is still pretty impressive, but not professional by any stretch of the imagination.
The eagle just looked around from it's lofty perch, perhaps wishing there was more than just barn cats wandering around the base of the silo.  Our chickens are kept safe from just such predators, as well as our dogs.  It tracked the birds which flew around, alarm calling, but pretty much ignored them.  It occasionally scratched and flinched, most likely being bothered by the same small flies that were buzzing around me, tickling as they landed.  Through my spotting scope I could see the new, darker feathers that are growing in, compared to the lighter brown from the previous year.  The feathers on the head are only tipped in brown, the rest being creamy white, which you could see easily as the wind gently ruffled them.
It is nice to live somewhere were such noble creatures come to perch and to preen, and to allow themselves to be admired.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Really Good Video

During my time as an apprentice, I got the chance to meet Danny Denham, who lives in Kentucky. He is very best friends with Dave Noble, my former sponsor. I stumbled across this video, and find it to be a very quality demonstration of the kind of hawking I do . . . hunting with a red tailed hawk. The equipment all looks like mine, and even some of the terms (rebooting the hawk after a catch, for a second attempt) as these were all things I heard Dave say when he was training me.

On YouTube this video has been "Adult Contented" . . . although why, I don't know. There is no foul language, nor blood. Maybe just because it is hunting.

It is a quality demonstration of a dedicated falconer. Dave told me that Danny drives a truck for half the year, hard . . . then takes the winter off, and hawks, hard! A very dedicated falconer!