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.