Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

It feels good to be feeling well enough to resume some of your previous activities.  I still have a few complaints, minor, from my illness, but today finally felt well enough to get my birds out.  Both were way too heavy to really fly in earnest, but they have not been flown for almost two weeks now, and were over-fed while I was unconscious.  I've been slowly trying to get their weight down, but they have been very resistant in the reduction.  Winter also arrived in earnest while I was out.  The snow level is enough to make hawking a bit harder now.

Hit Girl was flown first, and I was ever so slightly uncomfortable about that, as she usually flies at about 1300, and today was 1365 grams.  However, she flew with us, and we had many squirrels in the park that she chased.  In fact, she even did catch one of them, but when she hit the ground from parachuting down from the top of the tree the squirrel broke free, and she didn't re-catch it.  She got to fly and chase for about an hour, active, and then I decided to bring her down as she obviously wasn't highly motivated to finish the job, but was mostly just harassing the squirrel population.

Richard worked on this project and was able to isolate the "action" clip.  This demonstrates the escapes the quarry makes, and their skills at evasion, using whatever is available to them . . . in this case, deep snow.  I think I may have cursed on this clip . . . sorry . . . cover your ears if you are easily offended! 

Sassy was brought out and flown.  I'm having to use the leg transmitter on both birds now, as I clipped her back pack off.  This happened just prior to my getting very sick.  On our last hunt both birds were cropped up, but the next day Sassy hadn't put over her crop.  I didn't know if this was from the back pack blocking her ability to move food into her stomach, or also if a possible injury from a couple days before that was impacting her.  She dove into a very thick cover for a bunny, which she missed, but bruised her cere very seriously, and may possibly had bruised something else in her chest.  Either way, not moving food out of the crop is not good, as it is not bathed in digestive juice, so proceeds to decompose, and grow bacteria.  After snipping the back pack off, within an hour, she threw up her meal.  I then fed her very small meals for the next two days, hoping she would be OK.  She did seem to get better . . . however as she improved, I got worse.  My medical records even state that my husband and I "raise and train hawks, and one of them had been sick" . . . just in case that was significant.  Ultimately, no one really knows why I was sick.  I was diagnosed with Encephalopathy acute due to viral illness.

We moved down the park and focused in the area where we could find bunnies.  Sassy followed like a trooper!  After awhile, Richard did kick one up, and she was right there, ready to catch.  It was a full-sized bunny, and a good catch for this girl who was very heavy!  She is normally flown at 1030 give or take.  Today she was 1085.  Both girls did well . . . and the exercise was good for me too.  Richard recorded another GoPro film, but not a whole lot of excitement on there.  Once I see it I'll decide if I want to post it.

This was bunny #9 for Sassy!

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