I am a woman falconer, enjoying the Great Outdoors with a hawk on my fist.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Harris Hawks are known to be fairly intelligent, as far as hawks go. However, sometimes I question my own girl's wits. Earlier this fall, as I was bringing her weight down (still doing that) and getting Sassy into shape for hunting, I tried to introduce her to a "tall perch". Usually this is a home-made T-perch, with a long pole, which MOST Harris Hawks seem to take to. It is used to provide a hawk with a launch point if you should hunt where there are no trees. I introduced one to my little passage HH that I had down in Texas, and he took to it immediately. Sassy acted like it was an absolute monster that needed to be avoided at all costs. Silly bird!!
Today we got a late start, and trapped our way to Rochester to pick up a couple of auction items that Rich had won. I say "trapped our way" although really, we only saw one hawk to try for, and it was not interested in my bait in the least. Sassy was along for the ride, so I could fly her, but I realized after we were on the road that I had forgotten a few key items for hawking, so she just got a ride in the box. When we got home the day was late, and I needed to fly/feed her. We drove around a bit, not finding anything appropriate, and then I just decided to go check out a small state forest that Justin had told me about. There is a lot of squirrel sign here, though we did not see any squirrels today. Absolutely no rabbits were flushed. As we were going into the park the man who lives next to the park, and who owns the farm fields, saw us and chatted for a bit. He invited us to walk the brushy field next to his house if we wanted, and assured us there would be mice.
Rich and I walked the park for a bit, and Sassy flew from tree to tree. Knowing the brushy field we were offered to hunt in to be tree-less, I kept my eyes open for an appropriately shaped stick . . . tall, with a side branch at the top. I found one. Upon leaving the park and entering the field I offered Sassy a food reward to hop to the stick. She was a bit skitish at first, but well . . . there was food being offered, so she landed and took her tid bit, only to quickly leap off, as if the stick had burned her feet. We proceeded into the field. Sassy flew out to us, but finding no place to perch, she landed into the deep grass. I then offered the natural T-perch to her again. After considering her options for a few seconds, she leaped up to the perch . . . and then seemed to decide that it wasn't so bad after all.
We didn't find anyting in the field, and it was getting late, but the trip was made worthwhile by having introduced and getting acceptance of Sassy to use a tall perch. I finished out the trip near the car giving her repeated rewards to fly from a distance and land on the perch. She seemed to finally figure out it was an OK place for a hawk to perch.
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.