I am a woman falconer, enjoying the Great Outdoors with a hawk on my fist.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Canaries and a Quickie
It's been quite a bit busy since the holidays. I've spent a bit more time up at the hospital, or sleeping afterwards, as I've picked up a couple of overnight shifts. Influenza is at epidemic proportions throughout the US. Where I work has had a few cases to address, some fairly sick people, but to my knowledge no deaths, thankfully. Amid all this busyness I did take a Sunday off, and so did Rich, to attend a bird fair up in the St. Paul area. It has been a terribly long time since I have had any canaries in my life. I did get a small collection of finches from my bird friend Darla not long ago, and it has been nice to have their pleasant chirps in the house, but it is not the same as having a singing canary. We attended the fair on Sunday, January 6, and about $300 later I have six new canaries.
Three of them were of the original green color, common with canaries, and what the wild canary looks like. It was actually quite hard to get the picture above, as the bird just kept moving and turning away from me while I was trying to get its picture. Believe me, I mostly had pictures of canary butt. Then a day later, with no effort, and standing at a distance, I got a picture of two of the birds relaxed. The bird on the right is the same bird above. I think it might be a hen, and seems to almost be a fife, which is a smaller canary, as canaries go.
The bird on the left, above, and below is a full non-intensive yellow. Many people think of this as the epitome of a canary, but really . . . green is the standard. The yellow bird sports a blue band which the breeder informs me was placed because it is a male. I have yet to hear it sing to confirm.
The picture above shows how he is a bit more longish in the body.
I did purchase two red factor birds, of which I know one is male, because I heard it sing. It is possible both are male. I think these are color fed, rather than color bred. I'll be curious to see if they retain their color through the moult. I might have to experiment and color feed one, but not the other, and see what happens. Color bred birds will maintain their color through the moult. Color fed must be supplemented with a feather dye, or be fed foods high in red color, like peppers.
The last two birds were released into my larger cage. They both appear like this one above, greens, with one of the birds having a white tail. You can see them both in this pic below. Their pictures are not the best as they are in the larger cage, and trying to get their picture with the door open just upsets all the birds and they just hop and fly about in a panic. Canaries are not hawks!! They are low on the food chain, and even if they have been removed from the wild for countless generations, they know they are small and helpless and tasty.
Eventually I'm to sell one of these birds to my co-worker, but they are in somewhat of a quarantine right now, as I make sure they are healthy, and figure out which are males, based on their singing. A few have started to sing, but nothing like the birds I used to have. Well, eventually I plan to breed them, so I may have to do a bit of selective breeding and make sure I have some singers.
After the fair we drove down the river, through Waubasha. There is a quaint pub there that Rich and I have visited before. I took him to lunch, as a thank you for taking the day off and coming with me, and driving. He is fond of dark, what I call "chewy" beer, so I encouraged him to have one, and I drove the rest of the way home. Lunch was Irish Stew on a nest of mashed potatoes, with brown bread to lap it all up. Always good! After our lunch we searched out a place to fly Sassy, who had come along for the ride, but despite sign that something lived in the woody area we were in, no rabbits or squirrels were convinced to come out and play. Sassy had to settle with cold, pocket food. She didn't seem to mind too much.
A couple days later we got out with both of the birds, who have been cooped up a bit lately due to it being fairly cold. I tried a small patch out of St. Charles next to the rail road which looked pretty good . . . lots of bunny sign. Well, Sassy made very short work of the event. We released her and began to work the brush. I know I flushed at least one bunny for her. She disappeared up the track a bit, and by the time I made it that way and found her, she was standing on a bunny. We had been out about five minutes. Having another hawk to fly, and limited time, I fed her up on her prize and then put her away. We proceeded to do a lot of chasing around with Hit Girl, but didn't contact with any bunnies. Where we were at, on the other side of the track from where we had been, the underbrush was quite a bit thicker, and the few bunnies flushed were safe as Hit Girl lost momentum trying to fly around the brush. Also, behind the track was a huge brush pile in a farm yard, protected by an electric fence, housing some horses. Couldn't go stomp it. The rest of the rabbits that day were safe from us.
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.