The ponds are all still frozen at least for one more day, so when Jeff emailed and said wanna hawk with the Kestrels when I come up to the center to buy quail, I was definitely in.
After meeting up with Scott and his friend Nori at my house we hit the road looking for the little gremlins. First stop the mall. We saw some there but mixed with sparrows and we decided to pass on those. We then swung through Food Pyramid and down through Lowe's without much luck and we continued on to downtown where there were birds. Jeff was driving with EP on his fist and Gizmo and I were ready in the passenger's seat. Surprising to me was that the K-birds paid basically no attention to each other even though they were only a couple of feet apart and hunting the same quarry, Jeff informed me though that it is common for the wild caught birds and it adds a lot of fun to the hunt just taking turns from slip to slip. He was right! It was a lot of fun! After a couple of near misses for both birds, Giz was first to score. There was a small group of starlings poking around in the snow and before they knew what was coming, the little falcon slammed into the back of one's head. The force of the blow slammed the Starling's head forward into the ground and when I got over there its mouth was crammed full of snow.
Using his expert eye, Jeff informed me that she was ready for another. So I gave her a couple of bites and tucked it way ready for another. About this time the Starling numbers began to thin out some and we worked our way back to the mall without seeing anything hawkable. At the mall there was another small group feeding along side a chain link fence. EP shot out the window and was closing in when she was seen but still darn near bagged the fleeing starling as it passed through the fence. Back in the window she flew and off we went. It's getting close to time for me to head back to work when Jeff notices a dozen or so feeding on the median at the entrance to Food Pyramid. Gizmo saw them too and was bateing frantically at the window that I hadn't even rolled down yet. When it was about 3/4 of the way down I let her go. The starlings saw her and took to the wing but not fast enough and she mauled one out of air for #2. Unfortunately at this point I had to head back to work so I thanked Jeff for the good times and he dropped me off at my truck.
In case your wondering...the Kestrel master didn't strike out. He graciously gave me most of the good slips when we were out together and after I went back to work he caught several before coming to get his quail.
This Kestrel has been just the ticket for "filling in falconry" when the big birds have been grounded by the weather.