Monday, March 23, 2015

Season Wrap-up

The days move ever on, and slowly spring makes its way into the Upper Midwest.  But not as fast as I might prefer. Recently, we've had many warm days, but this previous evening were visited with a Spring Clipper, which brought about five inches of snow where I live, and more or less depending on if you are North or South of the path of the storm.  It is a damper, as this previous weekend, especially Saturday, was bright and warmish (for Spring).  Because of the storm, I've taken the time to sit down and finish up blogging for the season.  I didn't have to go out anywhere today, so it is a good activity when the roads look unsafe to drive on.
One more trip to see Brandon produced one bunny for each of my girls.  Both bunnies were male, so I didn't hurt this next season's crop, if any of the female rabbits out there are even pregnant yet.  Brandon has some good hunting ground, but it is very infested with raspberry vine (which bunnies like), and which goes right through my 'Firehose' duds. My legs got all scratched up.

Thank you again Brandon! I'll be seeing you next season, and I'll be sure to invite you to go trapping with me.
This end of the season we did a little meet and greet on two separate occasions. A lady found me on the Internet and invited us to come fly on her and her husband's property.  Thank you Cordia and Chuck! I'm glad you enjoyed seeing the girls fly. I'm sorry you didn't see them chase anything, as we didn't find any game. I will certainly contact you next season for a second and hopefully better chance.

We were then invited on a different day to meet some of their friends on the land owned by them.  Thank you Kari and Rick for letting the girls try for squirrels on your land.  Sassy at least wowed by catching a couple mice. Not the most exciting, but it was 'wild game', caught by a 'trained hunting bird'.

Most of the rest of these pictures on this page were taken by Cordia Pearson, and are posted here by her permission.
It was mostly a walk in the woods, but all who saw enjoyed the bird's flights.
CC did see and chase a ground squirrel, but it got away before she even got close to it.
The picture below was taken by Kari Schmitt, and posted here by her permission. It is in a small format, and I would really like to have this in a higher resolution. There was a rock on the top of the wood post. She struggled to balance on it. It made for a rather cute picture.
Back to pictures by Cordia.  The two hunters below look to the distant trees for game opportunities.
Kari enjoyed holding CC. She is a small human, and CC a large hawk, so the angle and perspective make CC look particularly large and intimidating.
Rick got to hold Sassy, just prior to her finding and pouncing on a mouse in the grass. No one saw the mouse . . . but Sassy did, and made it part of her lunch.

She's a very nice girl, this hawk of mine.
A little later Sassy found another mouse up the hill, and added it to the first one. Upon calling her back, she then demonstrated something Harris Hawks do sometimes . . . walk.  She walked for quite a way as we also made our way across this short grass meadow.  Eventually she picked herself up and flew to the trees.

Because no game was taken, other than the mice, I gave each girl the food I had in reserve in my pocket. Both 'bowl feed' for me, although I do hold CC's jesses when I do this, as I don't quite trust she might not dart a foot up and grab either the bowl, or me. That would not be pleasant.

Sassy is finishing up what was in the bowl, finding one last little scrap outside the bowl.
The final clip is of a particularly nice call-down that Rich caught with his GoPro. Flights from such distances are so very impressive.

With these final hunts, as well as the one on the last day of the Small Game Season in Minnesota, which was successful, Sassy finished the year up at 15.  CC took 10.  This is not a great year, but the freezer is full, and the birds are healthy, and now eventually Spring will come, and other activities now take most of my attention. The lights are already increased in Sassy's mew. Flint has already dropped 4 primary feathers as well as a deck feather (he's had long lights for a lot longer time). CC will spend just a little more time with me getting fattened up a bit, then she will be released.

The falconry season ends!  The hunting part of it at least.  Care of the birds is a year-round thing. And there is equipment to repair and maintain, as well as hopefully, a new mew to be built.  It is a labor of love, which also tends to suck up all my spare disposable cash.  But I get a great deal of satisfaction from the practice of this ancient sport.