I am a woman falconer, enjoying the Great Outdoors with a hawk on my fist.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Today Rich and I took both Harris Hawks out and flew them as a cast for the first time this year. Shortly out of the box, Flint decided to assert his dominance over Wyvern, which she seemed to accept. She would go on and frequently take low branches, or even walk around on the ground.
I picked a spot that has quite a few bunnies and knew there would be several slips for them to chase, which there was. As we moved down the path, finally I popped out a bunny and Flint dropped down from his high perch to snag his second catch of the year, of all time with me. Wyvern quickly joined him, which is GREAT, because that way bunnies won't be able to kick off little Flint. He is rather a small guy, flying at 635 grams. After the catch, it was just a mad flappy ball of Harris Hawk wings over the bunny until Rich made it to our happy huddle and took a picture. I then moved the party out onto the path.
What followed was some feeding of Wyvern, but not too much, then hooding, then calling Flint back in, as he went up a tree to pout for awhile. He then got to eat all the best warm parts of the bunny before he was traded off, hooded, and we made our way back to the car.
Hawk trapping has been a little "slim pickings" this season. The girl I decided to keep is a lot smaller than I usually would work with, but she has just charmed me for some reason I can't really put my finger on. My apprentice, Foxfeather, wanted to get a big, burly girl herself this year. She's been going with a Game of Thrones theme, and was seeking out a Brienne. We just didn't find her this year. Instead, we trapped this little boy.
At a distance, viewing him in the tree overlooking the trap I had just put down, I was intrigued and wanted to see him in hand. His coloring is just so stunning! In hand, I'm still fascinated with his looks. Fox has decided to name him Loras, after the Knight of Flowers. He's such a pretty boy, but hopefully still a skilled hunter. He had blood all over his beak when trapped, so that may be a good sign.
As to my own "little boy", Flint is the first of my birds totally ready to be flown. On Saturday I got Fox's help, and we cast him and put a Track Pack on him. He also got a beak trim. He was none too happy about his man handling (woman handling), and when I brought him home and put him into the mew with my other hawk, Wyvern, who he has been rooming with lately, he decided to attack her. OK, very bad mood! He was housed elsewhere that night.
On Sunday, I went for the first true hunt. I didn't have real high hopes, as Flint has never caught anything of significance while out hawking. He's been a somewhat useless bird, willing to come when called and come to the lure, and follow along out hunting, but not willing to engage in the hunt. We weren't in the field 5 minutes and I flushed a bunny which he went for. Actually, I flushed the bunny but never saw it. I saw him stoop from the tree after something, and was mantling as I got close to him. I though maybe he had a mouse. Bunny never cried. He had it by the butt, and I was afraid as I approached it would break free. I carefully made into him then quickly reached in and grabbed bunny. Good thing, because he then let go. I dispatched bunny, then encouraged him to return and had him grab the head. I then let him eat as much as he liked, to reward him for his effort.
This is bunny #1 for the 2017/2018 hawking season, and Flint's first bunny ever.
Falconry! Or more appropriately for me, Hawking! It is a passion, and a way of life. I happily pursue this sport, with the loving assistance of my husband. Come along with me for our adventures with the birds. Primarily we actively pursue it in the colder months . . . the rest of the time I try to make this blog as interesting as possible. Come let me share my stories, and feel free to contact me. I always enjoy talking about my obsession with this sport.