Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Successful Hunt

Today my new Harris Hawk proved that she's an efficient game hawk.
After my long work weekend I wanted to get out and let this girl stretch her wings.  She's been 'cooped' up the last few days, sometimes being tied out in the weathering yard, if it wasn't too cold, at 4:15 when we left for work, but yesterday not because it was too cold.  We took her to an old tree plantation I know about that has bunnies.  I thought she would have a good chance to chase and catch one there.
After being in the field about 20 minutes or so, and not having bumped a single bunny, we moved through some of the trees, which now have grown to full size.  The HH launched herself at a tree, and I looked up and yelled 'squirrel'!  She dove from her perch, but missed the first time.  The tree rat ran up the tree, and jumped to a neighboring tree.  This girl is smart, compared to Bailey from last year.  She knows to look up.  She moved and repositioned herself, and quickly scooped up the squirrel nice and handy.  Then, she was stuck up the tree, being preoccupied with keeping the squirrel secured.  It took a few minutes, but finally she parachuted down, getting caught up a time or two, enough for Richard to take a picture, on the many branches. 
I've learned that she is quite footy when on prey, but thankfully doesn't have quite the hand-shake that a RT would have.  On our way out of the field I stopped for a picture.  Just at that moment we kicked the only bunny seen in the field.  The bird above had come back up onto her toes, ready to chase.  Even with a full crop she was ready to hunt some more.

This girl came with the name "Oona".  I don't really care for that name.  Frequently I've been calling her "Sassy Pants".  It's not an elegant name, but it fits.  She's a sassy girl . . . . but she is a killer . . . and that is what a hawk should be!

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