Thursday, February 20, 2014

That's a Wrap!

On Wednesday, February 19 Rich and I got out for what is most likely the end of my falconry season, with Sassy anyways.  It got up into the high 30s.  We went to my favorite bunny location, which is usually just crawling with them.  However, with the terribly deep snow we've been experiencing, what bunnies are there are dug in deep.  There is sign of them all around, but it is impossible to kick them out.  There was a location of a brush pile, mostly covered in snow, but which I knew about.  We stomped that pile and popped out the only bunny we saw all day.  It was kinda a pathetic slip.  The bunny ran out and tried to make it's way up the deep snow embankment next to the brush pile.  It was so slowed down by the snow that Sassy snapped it up pretty easily as it tried to escape between a couple buildings.
We continued to walk the entire location, opting for snow shoes fairly quickly, as the snow was drifted up to our thighs, and sometimes waist.  The picture above is not a true reflection of how deep the snow was, but it seemed like it sometimes.  This above is piled up with a plow.  Small Game Season for Minnesota closes at the end of February, which is next week.  It is forecast to be single digits and subzero again next week.  I have lost so many days of flying potential this winter because of the terrible cold.  With that said, Sassy still managed to bring 10 head of game to the bag.  Not great at all by any measure, but again, she is able to hunt after her injury, and bring game to the bag.  Except for the extended cold, that number would have been higher. 

I must say, I do so love this bird.  She is so calm, when she's not too fat.  We flew her yesterday in Spring Grove after squirrels.  She did contact one, and got the only bite I've ever seen her get since I have had her.  The wound bled clean, and after a cleanup with iodine and topical antibiotic, looks to be healing fine.  The squirrel got away.  She let me fuss over her foot and didn't mind my ministrations at all. 

I plan to conduct an experiment with her.  Because I can no long fly her to hunt, I'm going to place some full spectrum lighting on a timer in her mew.  It's going to suddenly become summer for her, with 15+ hours of daylight.  I'd like to stimulate her molt to get going early.  I want her to be done and in shape so we can get out hunting as soon as the season opens in September next year.

Wasp may get flown a bit more, as things melt.  I want to work more with him, focusing on birds.  As spring progresses, we will have lots of nesting starlings, and there are always European House Sparrows.  I want to build up his confidence on catching more prey items than just mice, which he's pretty good at.  However, it has to warm up more than what is going on outside.  I popped my head outside the door and took a little clip of the snow coming down.  There was a clap of thunder snow a little while ago.  The wind will get blowing tonight, and push around the 5 to 8 inches of snow we are forecast for.  Spring is still several months away, but for me, the falconry hunting season is mostly over. 

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