Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Saturday evening, August 18, at the Houston Nature Center I gave an educational talk about falconry.  It was not a huge crowd, but I seemed to be enthusiastically received.  Sassy, and even the very fat Hit Girl were on their best behavior.  I have started the process to slowly bring Sassy down to a hunting / response weight.  She is coming a goodly distance now for the lure, but fist recall is still slow.  It is early yet, for any thoughts of bunny or squirrel hawking (especially since the season is not even open yet) . . . however I do have hopes to try her out on Crow Hawking.  I'm told she will do it, so that is the goal.  The warm days make the weight drop a somewhat slower process than it would be in the cold.  She also needs to build up her flight muscles and get fit again.  She has a fairly roomy mews which she bounces around in quite a bit.  In fact, she is challenging me a bit with some very territorial behavior in the mews.  Once pulled from there, she seems to be OK.  I've asked some advice, and now no longer feed her in the mews.  I hope with getting into the hunting season that behavior will extinguish.

I've received word back from some of these people that it's OK to keep their image active here on the blog.  I'll give the remaining people just a little more time before I take the image down.  I know it is very exciting to get the chance to hold a hawk.  Sassy is pretty good for the task.  I only allow Hit Girl to be handled by those who have a little more bird experience.

Thanks for coming to the program!

And a BIG THANK YOU to Karla at the Houston Nature Center for inviting us to come and speak!

This is Rich, and he was really excited to get the chance to hold a hawk.  For her part, Sassy perched very nicely.  I'll be sure to invite you this next hunting season, Rich, to come along with me and my own Rich and the two birds, and hopefully whack some rabbits or squirrels.

Image #2 ~ I'm still waiting to hear from this young gentleman.

Image #3 ~ I'm still waiting to hear from this young lady.  I think she is the sister to the young fella above.

This is John, and for a 5 year old, he's very sharp on his knowledge of birds.  He can identify just about all of the specimens on display at the Houston Nature Center, and his favorite book in the world (right now) is a bird identification book, which he can read the names of.  All you folks out there in Ornithology, Biology, and Natural History watch out . . . . this young guy shows all the potential to be a young prodigy!

This is Katelin, and she was enjoying very much getting a chance to hold Sassy.  Well, sorta hold her . . . I was actually still doing that.

Here is Amy, sporting a very wide smile.  I like letting young people experience being close to an animal which they normally would not come in contact with.  In the talk I like to emphasize the importance of raptors in our world, and how we need to make efforts to make sure they have places in the wild to continue to thrive.

This is Sue.  I let her hold Hit Girl because she does have raptor handling experience . . . and also because she enjoys it so very much.  It was good to see you again Sue!  We'll have to have coffee sometime, and sometime I should come and let you be my guide at birding the small guys.  I'm a bit rusty with that since I went to "The Dark Side" of the bird world, and took up with the raptors.

Sue also held Sassy . . . who seemed to be giving her a piece of her mind.  Sassy is talkative that way sometimes . . . it's how she got her name.

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