On Saturday, 10/01/2011 we finally started seeing some immature Redtails & Kestrels around Alice, Texas off of Hwy 59/Hwy44. Surprisingly we only saw a few Whitetailed Hawks usually we see bunches of them down here. We stayed on the Farm Roads around Alice and Robstown. Then in Corpus Christi we saw more immature Redtails so I guess they migrate faster down the coast. At 8:39 AM we trapped a 809 gram immature Redtail Hawk in Jim Wells County off of FM1539.
When I first saw him, he was up in a tree overlooking a fallow crop field. I walked out into the field and spooked him. He flew approximately a half mile to a telephone pole. We drove by and tossed our faithful gerbil “Lili” out to do the redtail dance in the Bal Chatri about 50 meters from him on the side of the road. We drove about 4 telephone pole lengths away to watch. The bird slammed the trap pretty quickly but got spooked by a passing car and flew up across the road into a tree. The bird was watching the trap like a demon possessed. My wife was laughing at me because I was praying and tossing salt and practicing all manner of voodoo to get the bird to hit the trap. A few minutes later he slammed the trap again and I thought he was caught so I told my wife “Go, Go, Go!” We got up beside the trap and he spooked up to the telephone pole to glare at us. So we drove on by.
After about ten minutes he flew back down beside the trap and we watched through binoculars. He would jump on the trap and foot it then jump off. We saw him flapping his wings and again I told my wife I think he is caught. My wife was like no just wait. Then the bird flew up about 5’ in the air dragging the trap with him. He flew across the road dragging the trap finally it brought him down.
He weighed 809 grams off the trap and his keel is very sharp. He is feather perfect with no squirrel bites on his feet. The tips of his deck feathers are a little ragged but that is to be expected down here. We sprayed him down with Bird Mite Spray and within a few minutes several feather mites came up to the top of his feathers below his beak. The male redtail hood I have is not small enough to fit his head properly but it will work for now. I called Mikes Falconry and he is sending me a new hood.
This was a large female we trapped prior to the male. We jessed her up and we were going to keep her but a few minutes later we saw the small male out in the field. We released this female which was very heavy and super fat. I had a small female last year and really wanted a smalle male this year to try something different.
My daughter and I manned this bird for 23 hours also known as “Waking”. I have to admit he would not tuck his wings at all and always stayed a little fluffed up in an aggressive stance. The next day we manned him for 8 hours and the following day another 6 hours. He finally started tucking his wings up and slicking back. He roused on my daughters hand finally. We are big on hydrating our birds and try to teach them to not be afraid of a squirt bottle which he picked up on quickly.
As you can see he manned down quite nicely. He hates the hood and will bate like crazy but after a few attempts he will sit quietly with it on. He was taking tidbits off the glove by the end of day one. We scooped up his mutes and placed it in a plastic zip lock bag and examined them. You could see what I am thinking is round worm and tape worm segments inside the fecal part of the mute. We gave him Wormout and Apertex and it seems to have cleaned them out pretty well.
By the end of day two he was bending down to tear meat on the glove but he took his time doing it. On day four he jumped to the glove and on day five we had him flying 30 feet inside the house to the glove using a variable predator call whistle. On day six we had him outside on the creance. He is coming along super fast.