Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thawing Out

I hadn't flown my birds in almost three weeks, aside from Scott and I's Pheasant hawking trip.  Finally this past Sunday we found a little open water with ducks on it.  Granted these were big ponds, some might say small lakes, but we were itching to fly and this is what we had so we did it.  My Hybrid, Scott's Hybrid, and my Gyrkin all got flights on ducks and all managed to make contact but none of the birds commited enough to finish the job.  Ducks were knocked down in unseen creeks, back onto the ice, and not hit with enough force that lead to a tail chase all ending with falcons called down to the lure.  In the end we had a good time getting back out into the swing of things.

The next day I went out again.  This time there was quite a bit more water open and I quickly found three Hoodies on a small pond.  My Hybrid took a good pitch, after sitting on a round bale for a few minutes, and slammed the Merganser right back into the middle of the pond.  I thought that we were past knocking birds back into the water but after nearly a month of not catching anything he must have been a little too gun ho.  I called him down to the lure and did try to fly him again a little later but he wouldn't take a pitch so he was called down and put away.  His wing beat has been really slow over the past couple of flights and he is landing so I will be watching him closely and raising his weight up a bit.  Hopefully this is just from not being in the air much and he will snap out of it quickly.

From there I went down to visit Dr. Welch with the Gyrkin.  He has had a bump just above his foot for several months now.  It doesn't seem to bother him, as he has caught and hung onto two Gadwalls in the past month, but I thought I would have him check it out to be sure.  After examining the bump, Dr. Welch was confident that it was a Caseous Abscess.  Basically the bird had a small infection and his body walled it off.  The encased infection eventually dehydrated and became a hard "bean" and that is what caused the bump.  He advised that we could quickly cut it out and give the bird a little time to heal or just leave it alone and there is a chance that it might go away later on it's own.  I decided to just leave it for now and take care of it at the end of the season if necessary.

Yesterday we finally fully got back on track.  The Hybrid took a nice pitch, although his wing beat was still slow, and cleanly struck a drake Ring-neck as it cleared the dam wall.  Ring-necks are the perfect confidence booster when a bird hasn't killed in a while.  They fly fast and in more importantly straight, most often giving the falcon a clean shot.  After this simple "pitch and catch" I made my way down the road to another pond that was holding a dozen or so Mallards for the Gyrkin to fly.  He mounted up okay but chose the wrong duck on the flush, stooping hard at a duck who was obviously not leaving the safety of the water.  After intimidating it into a splashdown, the falcon continued to stoop the now diving duck until the Mallard had splashed enough water on his attacker to dampen his flying ability.  Eventually the Gyrfalcon could not stay on the wing any longer and he landed at my feet soaking wet.  A good lesson for him to learn and one that I'm surprised didn't happen sooner.

I'm now working on another little project but more on that to come....

1 comment:

Isaac said...

Congrats on the duck. Dan may have mentioned what your "little" project is on his blog...If it's what I think it is I can't wait to read the adventures (for obvious reasons)!