Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Wins the race.......or so they say :-). So that's exactly what I'm doing! So what's new with the red shoulder right? Not too much really.....a couple days after that last post, I decided that with this consistent 100+ degree weather, we weren't really getting anywhere weight wise. Scooter sort of plateaued at a weight, and in order to get him to drop anything past that, I was having to short feed him pretty good. I decided that I didn't really want to do too much of that at this early stage, so I thought he may as well be out building up some more muscle. Stuck him back out on hack for a few days, and when I called him back in, he was at the exact same weight.......but WAY more muscled up! I was pleased with that, and since his metabolism was kicking pretty nicely at that point (from flying around during the days, instead of just chilling on a perch), I was able to pull a little bit more weight off of him, without having to short feed him as much. That little bit off of him pulled his focus in quite a bit, and we have been having some pretty good mornings out in the field. I know what you are thinking...."what happened to getting him entered through car hawking?" The simple answer is this....I'm still going to. Scooter has just changed up the order of things, for the time being. Going into this, I assumed that he was going to follow a similar course as a lot of other birds, and start out car hawking at a weight that was higher than what I would have him at when out field hawking. In reality though, the opposite was true with him. It seems like I am going to have to bring him down quite a bit more, in order to get him motivated for car hawking. On the other hand, at the weight we are at right now, we are starting to get pretty decent responses out in the field, and are slowly getting down to a more realistic hunting weight that way. He is still too heavy to put in the balls to the wall chases on birds yet, but we have had some pretty darn good ones, and I'm making sure that his confidence stays high, with the use of various different baggers (set up in multiple different fashions, so that he doesn't have the opportunity to key in on any cues). The best flight so far was on a sparrow that went about 50 or so yards. He put it into cover, but didn't end up sealing the deal. All the while, I have been sticking with my routine of "train while you hawk" vs the more common "get your bird trained before you go hawking" route. There are bugs everywhere right now, and being that he is a red shoulder, he likes to catch and eat them from time to time. Typically, we are talking about the large grass hoppers (the ones that are 4 to 6 inches long), dragon flies, and cicadas, and though this would normally piss me off, I decided why fight nature...lets just use them as a training tool. Using this morning as an example, we kicked off the session with a really nice sparrow flight that he ALMOST closed the deal on, and as a reward, I followed it up with a pigeon slip that I had set up prior to starting the day. He put the hardest flight I have seen so far from him on that pigeon, but simply got juked out of his pants. I called him back to the fist, and since I wanted to get some type of food reward into him after that pigeon flight, I went to a group of bushes that ALWAYS contain cicadas, and kicked one out for him. He chased it down, snatched it out of the air, and then flew up to the top of a tree with it (I know what your thinking....that was stupid! You just showed him catching birds was hard, and to just wait, because I will eventually provide an easier slip....just wait :-)). He promptly started getting bombarded by other birds, and he ended up dropping half of it below the tree. Called him down, and I went and kicked the bush again....another cicada popped out, snatched it out of the air, but this time he landed near my feet. He didn't drop this one since he was on the ground, and then I hopped him back to the fist for his first tid bit of the day (presented with a completely open fist).
Monday, July 16, 2012
It's that time of year. 105 degrees out and not so much as a little bit interested in training falcons. But the time is here and so is my new bird.....
I decided to start anew this year and picked up a female GyrxPeregrine the other day (the black one in the picture above, the other is a Gyr that I imprinted this year for a buddy). I've never hunted with a female hybrid, although, I have trained a few to the kite before they were sold. I really don't pay much attention to size in falcons, they all seem to be able to get the job done with the right set up in life and good training, but this bird is an absolute monster to me. I've never had a bird this big, aside from eagles. Even the biggest Red-tail I've ever flown was an ounce lighter than this bird at it's heaviest weight. This girl weighed in a 1413g (49.8oz) out of the chamber! I'll be honest though, a lot of that was food in her crop and she has slimmed down a fit and trim 1250g (44oz) today. If this one doesn't fly high then the ducks are gonna be glued to the surface of the water.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Might just get one of my kids into falconry. We were BBQing at Daniel's new house the other day and while the adults where hanging out inside, the kids where playing outside. I turned my head check on them and I see my 2 year old son pick up Daniel's glove, put it on (albeit upside down), walk into the weathering yard (not quite finished as it was just moved to this property), and reach out to pick up the hawk. The little hawk wanted nothing to do with him, but it was pretty dang cute that he tired. I wasn't too worried about him as this hawk is used to little kids running around. I wish I had my real camera but the wife's phone had to do.
Trying to be like Dad....
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
This time though, we went with a full on hack. We did this for two weeks, and though I kept tabs on him of course, I only called him down one time to replace the transmitter battery (and to give him a nice crop....). The fields surrounding my new home are LOADED with game, and he was out catching stuff daily. He pretty much didn't leave the area, and tops, maybe flew five or six blocks away. I ended up finishing up the hack about a week or so ago, and I have just been bringing his weight down since then. I have had him down to 545 grams so far, and he is still pretty darn fat.