Saturday, September 26, 2015

Hawkin' Hoods

How about we get back to some falconry related topics?  The Season is open now, but it is still pretty warm for flying, for me anyway.  I'm starting to bring my birds down, and condition them for starting the hunt soon.

I currently have my female Harris Hawk, Sassy.  I also have a male Harris Hawk, Flint.  I hope to fly these two together.  We'll see.  As I'm bringing Flint's weight down, he is behaving less afraid, and actually, could be getting a little fist-bound.  I need to get this guy hunting.

At this time I tentatively announce that I'm going to "try again".

A couple years ago I got a permit to try and trap a passage Harris Hawk in New Mexico.  That didn't work out.  At least the permit wasn't that expensive ($20).  Life has arranged itself for me this October to find myself down in South Texas.  I will be meeting my sisters to spread some of my father's ashes.  I decided if I was going to come to the area, I might as well make it just a little more interesting for myself.  I purchased a trap permit ($380 for Texas) to try for a passage Harris Hawk.  At least in Texas, there is a much larger area to search in, a larger population, and also, I was able to make a contact in a falconer in the area who is going to go out with me, and help me trap a bird.  I will have several days to accomplish this . . . and I hope unlike New Mexico, I will actually bring a bird home with me.

This has brought about a need to get some new falconry gear together.  Today I made the journey to go purchase some new hoods, both for myself, and for Sue, who is apprenticing with me.  Sometime back in 2005 or so I bought a hood from David Fulks, which became my most favorite hood.  In fact, I lost it in the field last year, and at the end of the season, having returned to the area where I lost it, Rich found it again for me.  It has seen better days, but I do so love that hood!  Today I visited David Fulks down in Iowa, who is back in the hood making business.  He hasn't made hoods for many years, but recently at a memorial service for Bob Anderson I was re-introduced to him by Dave Noble.  I got his business card, and told him I would come see him and buy some hoods.

Today was that day!

Sassy got a brand new, sporty purple hood, on the far right.  This is a Size 26 according to David Fulk's blocks.  It fits her like a gem!  On the far left is a very large red-tail hood, Size 29, I bought for myself.  I don't know if I'll try for a red-tail this year, but always nice to have a good hood just in case.  In the middle is a Size 28, average female red-tail and then a Size 27, average male Red-Tail.  The two middle hoods are for Sue.  As an added bonus, because I brought my old hood with me, Dave took the old braces off, moistened it, popped it onto the block, and as it dried, made new braces, which he then put on for me.  He 'tuned up' my old hood.  That really made my day!

If anyone in my audience would like to get one of these nice hoods from David Fulks, e-mail me and I'll give you his contact information.  He will be at the NAFA meet this year.

After talking hoods, David asked me to help him change the anklets on one of his birds.  He brought in this beautiful little tiercel, who is a four times intermewed Gyrfalcon / Merlin hybrid.  He hunts upland game birds with this speedy falcon.

Isn't he lovely!

Tomorrow I'll be going to go see the Bell Man!  New bells are being bought!

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