Monday, October 8, 2012

Dave's Ace

On Thursday, October 4th I was invited to join Dave for awhile at his trapping blind overlooking the Mississippi River.  Dave drew one of the three trapping permits last year in Wisconsin for passage peregrines.  He did trap one last year, but the allowable take of only two birds had already been filled by the other two falconers in the state who had permits, so he had to release the falcon.  He had a permit for this year as well, and this year he was able to keep the peregrine that he trapped.  This is Ace, a passage tiercel.
His training is coming along very nicely, and soon Dave will be flying him free.  Nice Catch Dave!!
The rest of the time I spent up at the blind was filled with catching red tails.  That is the primary species caught at Dave's site . . . but he has caught a couple falcons (the other one he caught was banded so he let it go), and the occasional Coopers Hawk.  Dave is so very enthusiastic about the raptors he works with.
This year he was able to use his dho gazza nets, which make catching falcons and Coopers Hawks possible.  However, it can be a real challenge to extract the hawks out of the nets once they are in them.  I was assisting a little.  I can't imagine doing this without help.
Later in the afternoon we had a couple of additional visitors (which I had invited).  This is Roar Solheim, who is a Norwegian zoologist.  He is visiting the United States and collecting specimens for his nature museum in Kristiansand, Norway.  He is a guest of Karla at the Houston Nature Center.  His specialty is owls, but he is an avid bird enthusiast.
Sue Fletcher was his companion today.  She was taking him to see some of the birding hot spots in the La Crosse area (which they did go do later, after their visit to the blind).  I felt fortunate to have been able to give them the opportunity to see red tailed hawks up close and personal.  I'm also glad that we had a couple that Dave had trapped that they could release.  It was a really nice afternoon!
video

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