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.

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