I am a woman falconer, enjoying the Great Outdoors with a hawk on my fist.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Meet the new hawk. I'm calling her "Hit Girl", and she shows potential to be a downright vicious, hopefully squirrel-killing machine.
In this instance, vicious is GOOD!! I like a strong, pushy female red tailed hawk! :-D
She was trapped using a bow net overlooking the Mississippi River. Trap weight was 1400 grams (49.4 ounces . . . that's over THREE LBS!!) She's responded to the training quickly. Flight weight is around 1300 grams (45.8 ounces), give or take a little. I need to zero in a little closer, possibly higher, as she may be flying right now a little too sharp . . . or she is just being the bitch that she is promising to be. Read on for details.
She is a standard colored Eastern red tail, but it sure feels different having this big girl hit my fist, after the little wimpy guy I had last year. It's amazing what one more pound of pure power can feel like hitting your arm. Thus far, she is not as footy as Nina was, my last big female red tail, but this girl, unlike most red tailed hawks I have worked with, likes to use her beak. She strikes and bites often, like she was a falcon or something. I don't look forward to the day she does hand shake me . . . she has quite the grip through the glove.
(After the video be sure to click to see more . . . this blog post is doing weird things, going into an extended page, which I've never seen it do before. More content to see!)
OK . . . now to explain the name. Rich suggested the name for this bird, and so far, she is living up to her name-sake. It is taken from the 2010 movie Kick-Ass, which is based on a comic book. Really it is a lot better to just show some videos. This one is a preview that gives you a gist of what the movie is about. OK Folks . . . this also requires a warning . . . this is a Rated R movie, so we have us some bad language here. If you are a listening at home, and are of a young and impressionable age . . . put the head sets on. I'm sure you've heard this stuff before, but I don't normally use profanity in my blog . . . . but just can't be helped in order to explain the name.
Hit Girl is an 11-year-old assassin, trained from a very young age as an instrument of revenge upon some very bad guys. She's not all sweetness and light . . . not even close . . . but most red tailed hawks aren't either, so it fits. Here is a teaser just for her role in the movie. (Sorry, you might have to look at a commercial first.)
And last, but certainly not least, a pretty cool music video.
I flew her free yesterday and today for the first time. Yesterday was late in the evening, almost dusk, and she unexpectedly decided something about Rich's head looked like a possible meal.
This is an act of aggression which needs to be tempered by getting her on game. We flew her in the park here today, but the squirrels were not as active as they usually are. She did attempt to make a few hits on both of us, living up to her name, but then started to focus on the squirrels we did move. No catches today, but the rest of the hunt went better, with her moving from tree to tree as she was supposed to, and with her not making demands for food. (Rich is only slightly jokingly shopping for a viking helmet to wear in the field).
I think she will work out to be a fine game hawk . . . we just have to finish up with the training, and with her learning my value in the field, to kick up quarry for her to catch. I'm looking forward to seeing what Hit Girl can do.
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.