Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am on the falconry regulation committee for the Oklahoma Falconer's Association and this past week we arranged a meeting with our wildlife department to discuss the new federal falconry regs and how they would be implemented in Oklahoma.  We have a great department with great people working for them and it looks like we are on track to be one of the first states in the U.S. to have the new regulations on January 1, 2010.  There is a awful lot that has to happen for it all to go through.  I will post some of the requirements here as I remember them so they may not be accurate to the tee, but here goes.

The new regulations have to be presented and approved by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and the Wildlife Commission.  They also have to go through public hearings in multiple different cities in the state.  The Governor has to sign off on the new regs.  It looks like we will have to have a couple of state statutes changed.  So that requires a bill being written by a state Senator and a House Representative and then that bill has to be approved by the state Senate and House.  Oklahoma's new regulation proposal has to be looked over by the USFWS to make sure that it is as restrictive or more restrictive than the Federal Falconry Regulations. The OK Wildlife Department also has to update their website to allow for Internet reporting of 3186-a, raptors trapped, bought, or transferred.  And I am sure that there are several more things that I am forgetting since I do not have my notes in front of me.  

This is quite the process, but to have the new regulations in place as soon as possible will be a great thing for all partys involved.  We are lucky in this state to have a willing and able Wildlife Department and a very involved and enthusiastic Falconry Club to help move us toward the new age of falconry in Oklahoma and to be a leader in this process for the rest of the country.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My friend Raul from Arkansas came to visit with his Aplomodo Falcons, and since we could not make it to the NAFA Meet in Texas we had our own mini meet here in Oklahoma.  We had a great time flying birds, catching game, and eating Thanksgiving leftovers.  We caught a couple of ducks with my hybrid and Raul's female Aplomado finished the weekend by catching a English Sparrow (which is actually a non-native weaver finch) with a amazingly quick wing over.  I definitely have a new respect for the Aplomado falcon.  Maybe someday in the future I'll try my hand at one.  But for now I'll focus on what I got and the new silver Gyr that I am training.  Here is a video from our "mini meet."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today's flights ended with hen Mallard in the bag, caught from a text book stoop, but that was only the end.   In the middle, this falcon got his first experience of what it is like to hit one of those flying bags of concrete, the Canada Goose.  This bird has flown over ponds with geese and ducks on it over the past two seasons and has never once shown any interest in the much slower, and larger, flying geese.  However, today my bird must have been feeling like David and decided he was going to take on Goliath.  From nearly 1000' he folded up and came down fully slamming into the goose.  Normally this would send a duck spiraling to ground.  From 100 yds. away I heard the "thud" of the 100 mile per hour plus collision.  Only to see the goose lower about 5 feet and keep flying in the same direction at the same speed as if nothing had happened. 

After the falcon got over the shock of what happened, he climbed right back up to the 1000' pitch and came back over the pond with the familiar ducks.  And hammered the Mallard on the flush.  So things ended pretty normal, but the look on the birds face above seems to suggest that we never speak of this again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here is another video that was done by my friend and fellow falconer RaĂșl Ramirez.  The video features a flight by one of my falcons, a tiercel Gyr/Peregrine, and that of a female Gyr/Peregrine, flown by Steve Sherrod.

I have never been much of a writer, but I feel that I need to become better at it so that is why I have started this blog.  Being that I am always busy with parenting, falconry, work, countless projects, etc., etc., etc., I thought this would be a good way to "make" myself relax and take a step back from the go, go, go.   That being said I'm going to try and post to this blog at least once a week.  The main topic will usually be falconry, but I'm sure there will be some of this and that thrown in there as well.  So to get things started off I have put in a short video I made of the Oklahoma Falconers Association meet, filmed this last October.