Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This is Falconry, for those who want a peek

One of my other activities, other than holding down a full-time job and hawking, is participating with Couchsurfing. This is an online share community where you can seek out a place to stay for the night, to borrow someone's couch or guest room, in locations away from your home. It is a way to travel cheap and experience a place better than just as a tourist, and especially meeting interesting people. The local people can give you a more authentic experience of the destination. I have surfed in the homes of others, and I have hosted a few people. There is a give and take relationship, a building of references, that allows both the surfer and the host to know they are safe. It is a recipe for far more interesting travel!

On my own profile I clearly indicate I'm a falconer, and guests are welcome to come and get an understanding of what falconry is all about. Unfortunately, the sport suffers from a misunderstanding on the part of those who have no other frame of reference that what we do is easy. A good falconer makes it look easy, but those of us who are falconers know better.

A recent Couchsurfing guest, Tammy, was interested in learning about Falconry. I think I was able to give her a pretty good experience. She stayed in my home for three nights. She was able to see the daily care of the raptors, and their facilities and furniture. I was able to arrange a hawking day with Justin, my former apprentice, and Greg, my current. Greg's bird has become flaming hot lately, taking down squirrels right and left. She caught the one above right above my guest, and came down with her prize almost on top of Tammy's head. That's Greg's son Brady securing the catch. 
We went on to fly Justin's Red Tail Chomps, who has continued on with her stunning record of last year, filling the freezer with hawk food. Chomps had already caught prey that morning prior to Justin joining us, so she wasn't too motivated. At the cars Justin pulled out his Goshawk, Olivia. She too had already flown that morning so just made an appearance to be looked at and admired. Thank you guys for coming out and letting Tammy have a good opportunity to see some hawk action.
Tammy and I would go on to fly my birds in the Rochester area. I checked out an area Justin had told me about, which proved to have many squirrels and at least one rabbit. It was rather a smart rabbit too! We chased it under a pallet, and when I poked inside to pop it out, it wouldn't budge. It knew there was a hawk outside that was more danger to it than getting poked by a stick. It was at the far end of my reach so no real danger to the bunny. When we relocated to another hunting spot, we were stumbled upon by a falconry couple that live in Rochester. I would fly CC, but we didn't kick anything up, and I was more interested in taking a break for some coffee.
On our way home, and after coffee, Sassy added Bunny #8 to her total for the year, quite easily snagging it in a new field I have found.

I think Tammy had a good, albeit tiring day with my team. She has come away with the conviction that Falconry is not for her, but that the birds are pretty awesome.

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