Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Making of a Big Year

Just a quick mention of our friend, Jonathan.  He is having one heck of a year with his passage male Red-tailed hawk.  I was with him when he trapped this hawk on a very foggy morning in the middle of October.  Not surprisingly, this bird has become another falconry gem in Jonathan's hands.

Jonathan came up to help flush for these goofy Harris' Hawks for a good hour before he got a chance to fly his bird without a complaint, in fact he pushed for me to keep flying 20 minutes longer than I wanted to.  When it was time for his bird to fly, he didn't disappoint.  The second the hood came off, this bird was in the trees and in full-on hunt mode.  Took us a bit to get across the field to an area that we hadn't worked over earlier.  Once there though the action was fast and over quick.  

The bunny in the picture is a milestone rabbit.  I'm not gonna say exactly how many Jonathan and this bird have caught this season.  But you can take what most would consider a good season and double it, then add a few and that is almost where he is at.  Amazing!  The condition of those chaps says it all....


Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun With...*gulp...Harris' Hawks

Now I've gone and done it.  With the loss of one falcon and the minor illness of the other, I had lost all my drive for flying falcons the rest of this season.  But it has been many years since I have not had at least a bird to fly in the winter. So I approached another falconry friend of mine who has two male Harris' Hawks that he has not been flying this season due to a very busy work schedule.  Both birds have caught a few bunnies each as individuals but had not had much success hunting together, as the older bird was injured shortly after acquiring the second a season ago.  Both are healthy now and as much as I swore I had no interest in flying a cast of these social hawks.... I'm doing it now.

I've had them for only a couple of weeks at this point.  I got them down to weight and flying to me on creance as fast as I could and this morning hit the 'ol bunny field that I've neglected for the past 6 or 7 years.   Both birds flew well despite the light rain that was falling.  The bunnies didn't disappoint either as we had 5 slips in just less than 30 minutes.

The birds, although they didn't exactly work together, hunted very well for their first showing.  They even pulled fur from the first bunny that flushed.  They were quickly worn out from the multiple chases and coupled with the rain watering them down we had to keep the session short.  I ended up calling them to a rabbit drag from which they traded off nicely and we called it a day.  Short, sweet and to the point.

A week or two to get them in good shape and the bunnies better beware,  rabbit hawking has returned to Bartlesville.......