Friday, November 27, 2015

Video Archive

Please just ignore this page . . . if you are one of my regular readers.

Often, I want to share a video with people when I introduce them to my blog, but I just don't remember where they all are.  Here I'm creating an archive I can easily pull up to find just what I'm looking for.

CC Calldown

Long Absence ~ Several slips for CC, and then a catch and transfer

Compilation of Hunts ~ Sassy after squirrels

Falcon vs Downhill Bike Racer (Red Bull)

Hit Girl and the Spring Grove Squirrel

Bunnies at the Truck Stop

NAFA 2012 ~ long but good catch by Hit Girl

Hawks and Tali (a very nice video)

Hit Girl at Brandon's

Long Hunt at Spring Grove Park ~ but nice catch by Hit Girl

Old video of Nina, Educational Talk

Danny's really good video

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"B Team"

Today the weather was more of what we expect for this time of year, rather than the "warmish" fall we have enjoyed thus far.  It got maybe all of a high temp of 28, or maybe 30, with a bit of wind.  There is some snow, a little, in a few places.  I had agreed to go out hawking with Justin, and that is exactly what we did.  Being a cold day, and having Justin along, I decided to try out my "B Team", that is, Sassy flying with Wyvern (I'm referring to Sassy and Flint as "A Team" mostly because they flew together first).  I have not flown Wyvern with another hawk yet.  Today would be the day.

But first we flew Justin's red tail at a field neither of us have hit this year.  There were a few bunnies flushed for her, but she was rather distracted by all the mice or voles in the field.  Also, the resident pair of wild red tails were soaring and calling and generally making her perhaps a little more wary and less focused on hunting.

After switching fields, I flew my two girls together.  Almost immediately out into the field, Sassy nailed our only bunny we would bring to the bag.  The good thing was that she let Wyvern join her, and didn't fuss or crab with the young hawk.  Also, we would go on to continue to work the field and flush several more bunnies.  Wyvern began to follow better up in the trees, and she made several stoops and attempts at the bunnies we did kick up.  I think with more practice, she will catch her first bunny of her own.  However, today I think she got a very good lesson from Sassy, who played the role of "Make Hawk" very nicely.

After deciding the Harris Hawk team had flown enough, we put them away and got out Justin's goshawk.  She chased a couple bunnies in the field we were in, furred one, and then we relocated to another place, where she chased a few more, but didn't seal the deal today.

Overall, a very good day hawking!

I'm planning next Tuesday to fly all three Harris Hawks in my most favorite squirrel location.  Let's see if Sassy can teach those two to chase tree rats.  If Sassy and Wyvern begin to do really well together, I might have to rename them "A Team".  Both of the females are catching things.  Sure, so far Wyvern is catching mice (she caught one today), but soon I hope she'll get a bunny.  Flint hasn't caught anything yet!  It's time for him to step up his game.  Maybe some girl competition in the field will be the ticket.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ferruginous Hawk

If I lived someplace more appropriate for this kind of hawk, I believe I would trap one and try falconry with this largest of our North American buteos.  They are stunning to look at, especially in their adult plumage.  Unfortunately, they like wide open spaces, and I just don't have that here in Minnesota.  I can dream though!

Here is a very professional video of a woman falconer who is living the dream.

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Briar Rabbit"

It was a really glorious fall day in Minnesota on Sunday, 11/15.  Sunny, high 50s.  After a 5-day stretch of work, I was ready for a few days off.  After a little nap, I took my A Team out to hunt down the street, on a neighbor's property.  It looked really good, and would prove to be good exercise for all in the field (especially me), at the end of the hunt Sassy brought bunny #7 to the bag.

The whole area is very overgrown with raspberry briar.  Being a warm day, I wasn't wearing a jacket, so my arms are all scratched up from moving through that mess, moving the bunnies.  Sassy was hot, and several times sat over a thick patch, looking into the bramble, being able to see her quarry, but knowing she would not catch it.  Instead she just voiced her opinions on the matter, perhaps mumbling fighting words, "talking shit" at the bunnies.  Like Brer Rabbit, of Uncle Remus' tales, the bunnies know they are safest inside the briar.  However, there was a big, clumsy human crashing through, and pushing the bunnies along out of their safety.

Sassy and I worked together (again, Flint came along but wasn't really doing much other than flying to keep up with Sassy . . . he doesn't make any catch attempts, yet).  We pushed the bunnies around on the new property, we moved a few off to the next neighbor, the one who lives just South of me, and just when we crossed over the barb wire fence onto my own patch of raspberry, a bunny busted forward, and Sassy took it.  Yeah Sassy!  The picture above is not as clear at indicating how thick the briar is, but believe me, it is very hard to move through.  The canes are long and grab at your clothes, and scratch.  Frequently they lock up and you can't tear through them, and have to step up and over.  It's hard to hunt in the stuff.

I extricated her, her bunny, and myself and went over the next fence, into a harvested field, open and walkable.  Flint joined us at this time.  Instead of leashing everyone up and parsing out some food, I just picked up the bunny and both birds, walked along the fence and came to my own yard, and put the birds into their weathering yard, then cut up portions.  Leaving them to eat, I unloaded myself of all my gear, and then walked back down the street to pick up my car.

So glad I didn't have to walk back THROUGH the briar patch, with both birds, to get my car.

I really need a dog on my team!  I wish Sassy would let me add one, but she just hates Brer Dog!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Calm Before the Storm

On Wednesday morning I got off from work, not having to work again that night so didn't go to sleep, and with a winter storm on its way, scheduled to arrive after noon, took the birds out for a little morning hunting.  Sassy brought 2 bunnies to the bag in really quite a quick fashion.

Flint came along.  This is what he does, especially if I have someone else in the field.  Rich was with me this morning.  He (Flint) just comes along.  He's not hunting, but hopefully he is watching, and learning.

A successful morning!

A little later we took Wyvern out.  Still no bunny for her, but she did catch three mice.  Again, not exactly our target quarry, but it is good food for a hawk, and she caught it herself, and came to the lure when that was all done.  She needs to learn to get up higher in the trees.  She wants to hunt very close to the ground.  Hopefully, once I get Sassy flying with her, she'll take a higher perch to have a better chance at the bunnies.

Here is a video of the two catches for Sassy.  We were in some pretty heavy cover, so can't really see a whole lot, but it is what it is.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Getting to Know You

On a day when I can't fly my birds (working tonight, gotta sleep), they can spend some time tied out under the weak Minnesota sun and get acquainted.  Wyvern in the front, Sassy in the back.  Sassy is actually much bigger, flying at around 1010 grams.  Wyvern is flying at about 760.  Today they are both fatties, as I fed them good yesterday knowing I could not go hunting today.  No one is too worried about food right now.  A good way to get to know each other.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Good Weekend

Sassy really was the star this weekend.  On Saturday I visited my friend, Janelle, who has some good brushy areas on the land around where she lives.  Sassy got to check it out, with Flint coming along to learn how a proper Harris Hawk is supposed to act.  Before I even got to where I wanted to start hunting, and only about 2 to 3 minutes out of the hood, she nailed a squirrel.  I moved in to help, and Flint started over to get in on the game, and just as he landed, Sassy let go of her squirrel and flew up to the tree.  I don't know if the tree rat had bit her or what, but I was left with a very much alive squirrel.  I dealt with it, pushed it into the game bag and kept going.  Within about 10 more minutes, she brought a bunny to the bag.  She's such a great bird!  We had several other flushes, but no more catches that day.  At the end of the hunt both came down to the lure.

On Sunday morning I took Wyvern out for a hunt in a place where I know there are lots of mice, and also a few bunnies.  As I planned, she did hunt, and caught three mice.  It's not anything exciting, but it was hunting for her, she followed me in the field, and came to the lure at the end of the day.  She is showing a tendency to carry what she has caught.  I gave her space today.  When she nailed a mouse, I didn't move in too close, but after she was done eating each, I called her to the fist for a little tid bit. It is also a start.  Any gain is a good gain.  There was one particular time a bunny was about to be flushed, and she did fly into the grass nearby.  It is probably just a matter of time before she starts catching real quarry (rabbits).

I then went home and switched out to my A Team.  Flint seems to do a lot better when it is just me in the field as the only human.  He kept closer to Sassy and I, and when she caught her bunny, he came in, but didn't try crowding her.  I think the best thing for him is to just keep getting exposed to quarry chases and catches.  I hope our mild fall weather continues.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Slow Progress

Today, Wyvern "successfully" hunted . . . my glove.  She followed, more or less, was not in position for the 4 or so bunnies we kicked out for her, and at the end of the hunt, when I dropped my right-hand glove, she flew in, grabbed it, and carried it off.  She would then not come to the lure.  It took awhile, but eventually I was able to convince her that what I had could actually be eaten.

I must let her and Sassy spend time together, so I can fly them together.  She really needs an experienced hawk to teach her what we are doing.