Saturday, June 21, 2014

Justin's Baby

Rich and I visited Justin and his family this evening to meet his new baby.  It's no secret to those who know Justin that he wants to fly a goshawk.  He finished up his apprenticeship in 2013, and made a respectable dent in the rabbit and squirrel population in and around Winona this last winter with his red tail Chomps.  However, he has been bitten with the goshawk bug, and it has been his dream to fly one.  He tried to trap one last year, but between attempting to get his General Falconry status confirmed, and the poor migration we had last year, that didn't happen.  Then this year, he tried to find goshawk nests to pull an eyass for imprinting, but that didn't happen either.  As always with this impressive and lucky young man that I have had the pleasure to know, fortune shined upon him.  A falconer in Wisconsin made the decision to pass along this young bird, and Dave helped with getting the health certificate and transportation.  His family have named her Olivia, and she is quite adorable.  She still has all her young nestling innocence, and none of the killer mindset that will manifest all too soon.  Justin has his work cut out for himself, but he also has the guidance and advice of several Wisconsin falconers of distinction who have successfully trained and flown exceptional goshawks.  He'll do fine!
We also got to meet Lucy, his new Jack Russell Terrier puppy.  She is quite a cutie, and full of piss and vinegar as my mom would have said.  He's working with her, and she has her beginning obedience ongoing.  Although, when she was allowed to chase out some of their turkeys from under the coop she was rather loath to let the one go she had caught.  She'll make a fine hawking dog.  I threatened to leave Monty with them, as he had come along with us, but they nixed that idea immediately.  They had planned to just raise the puppy this summer, as Justin didn't get the goshawk in the spring.  However, with this stroke of fortune, now they have two baby animals in their home to raise and train.  Enjoy!
I do believe this is the first time I have ever held a goshawk.

Bunny Lover

Not too long ago I purchased the following decal for my car from another woman falconer off a Women Falconers page on Facebook.  I've wanted some kind of falconry decal for my car, and this one is just cool.

Well, yesterday, a Sunday morning for me, I was driving from my home to La Crosse to meet up with Sue for breakfast.  As I drove down the Interstate, it was just me, and another driver who I was quickly gaining on and would overtake and pass.  As I got closer, I noticed the other vehicle had a license plate as follows:  BUNNYLVR

I accelerated and passed them up quickly.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

What's going on Hawk Wise?

I have been intentionally managing Wasp to NOT bring on the molt.  For awhile, after winter, I free fed both of them, and it shows, as he put on quite a lot of weight for his size.  Sassy was placed on full-spectrum lighting for 14 hours a day, and her molt was kicked off nicely, and proceeds well.  She is halfway through her tail.

When Sassy is heavy, she gets MORE Sassy.  I don't handle her much at all, and just throw food at her.  When I leave her mew, she sometimes will hop onto the platform on the door, and strike through the bars to try to foot me.  If she was totally serious, she would come at me when I'm in the mew . . . and when I do go in I keep an eye on her, although usually I time this with giving food, so she is distracted.  I think she is mosly displaying a protectiveness of her space, and her nest, even if she hasn't laid any eggs yet.  This switch in her behavior disconcerted me when I first observed it, but now I know it is normal.  In the fall, when I get her weight down and get her back into hunting shape, she'll sweeten up to be my nice hunting partner again.

Wasp is a different story.  When he got heavy, he got SCARED.  I have been slowly bringing his weight down, and trying to reclaim his training.  It's been slow going.  My goal is to try to start flying him here in Summer to Late Summer, then Fall.  I'll manage him to go into molt when it starts to get really cold, as I won't be able to fly him then.  He has not been cooperating with my efforts, and he has been making me question my skills as a supposed 'Master' Falconer.  He almost refuses to sit on the glove, and I'm beginning to question whether I need to require him to do that at all.  He will come back to the glove for a tidbit, but doesn't want to stay there.  He may make me stretch my behavior-shaping muscles to get creative.  Mostly, I'd like to get him to where I could do some car hawking.  I did try 'water manning' on him, and it works real slick to eliminate the bating reflex, but then I wonder if he is learning anything as he stands there, in what appears to be shock, not doing anything but dripping.  I have been bringing him indoors to sit quietly and watch the household go on around him.  It seems to have helped, somewhat.

Well . . . challenge is what makes us better animal trainers.  It's also good for this animal (me) to try new things and to take into consideration new ideas.

My Own Garden

A few flowers in my own garden have been blooming.  Last year I planted this Clematis, and it came back in all of its glory this year.  I also have a Hydrangea which I had to cut down to the ground, but it is coming back now.  A couple of my Peonies are blooming . . . until the rain of the last week took them out.  This year I added a Lilac bush, and going for a second time with a potted Fig Tree.  I killed the one last year rather quickly, and quite unintentionally.  This one looks like it is doing OK.  It will come inside in the fall when it starts to get too cold.
Wild Phlox is blooming (was blooming until the week of rain) across the street, outside the Sinclair Cemetery.
I love Spring, but it lasts so very briefly.  All too quickly it moves into the hot, sticky and buggy Summer.

Birthday Flowers

Last month, for my birthday, I asked Rich to go with me to Madison, to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, in Madison, Wisconsin to take in some spring blooms.  I'll post a few of the pictures I took.
Rather than showy blocks of all tulip garden beds, this year there seems to be more of a theme of grassy meadows with intermittent blossoms.

The flowering crab apple trees are always a delight to see.

There are many permanent landscape arrangements.  The one below is a rock garden with hardy evergreens, with a few spring bulbs as accent.
This is a garden lettuce and herb bed.

It seems strange to find a Magnolia Tree here in the North, but they apparently survive here, as I've seen this plant several times, in show gardens, but also in people's yards.  Other than being beautiful, they smell rather nice too.
One of Olbrich's premier attractions is the Thai Pavilion, which was gifted to the University of Madison from the Thai Government.  To read more about it, go to this link:  Thai Sala   Here you see it at a distance, beyond one of those grassy meadows with intermittent spring bulbs.
This is one of the earliest peonies I've seen blooming.  It is rather simple, with only one set of blossoming petals.  Most peonies have multiple, giving them a more full look.

It was a beautiful spring day, spent with my best friend.  We also visited several garden stores and bought some new plants and trees for our own yard.