Archive for the Falconry Category

December Hunting in Laredo

Posted in Falconry on January 17, 2012 by ABS

Well December was very rainy here in Laredo,Texas. We only got out hunting maybe 10 times. We definitely need to find a larger parcel to hunt on with higher mesquite trees so Kain can get more work on following. Kain managed to kill a Cotton Rat and has chased a few rabbits that he wasn’t able to catch. Now that the New Year is here we will get out a lot more. We make a routine of doing jump-ups to the t-perch every other day to keep him in shape.

 My upcoming projects are a table loop perch for him, a homemade Igloodor (humidor) for my cigars, making a small pigeon loft (12 birds) for the back yard and attaching an open weathering yard to the mews outside. We are hopng to trap a bunch of feral pigeons and just leave them in the loft to breed. Once we have babies and they are ready to fly we will transfer the breeding ferals to another pen and start the loft flying training with the babies. This is an experiment so wish us luck. Having a ready supply of pigeons for gun dog training and falconry training will help immensely. If the small system works we may build a bigger loft. My wife goes nuts with me spending money on all my side projects but hey I am a swamp-a-billy and I love building stuff and trying it out.

We bought tickets to the Texas Hawking Association’s event coming up January 14, 15 and 16th and reserved a room at the hotel in Abilene. I already got the days off to go. My wife is really looking forward to it.

Kain’s First Success

Posted in Falconry on January 17, 2012 by ABS

Sorry for the lateness in posts but the holiday season is always a little crazy. Well we have been out hunting about a dozen times on our friend’s property with no luck on kills. Kain is following but not as closely as I would like. When he picks a perch we will beat the brush around him trying to flush something for him. He seems to act like he knows what we are doing because he will reposition himself to keep an eye on where we are flushing. He has had quite a few stoops on what I think were Cotton Rats and furred two rabbits but no kills till December 2nd. 

Kain was at 739 grams. We were out hunting for about 2 hours when we decided to call it quits. My daughter and I were calling Kain back and forth from about 300 meters distance between us in the brush to the t perches we were carrying to finish the remainder of his days meal. On one flight he went about 20 yards wide of me and flew up into a wing over to rocket down and disappear into the brush below. We heard a scream and ran over to see Kain had a nice Cotton tail pinned down below aMesquitebush. I made in low and he attempted to drag it until I stepped on the rabbits back leg. 

He sat their kind of looking at me with one foot on the rabbit, the other foot spread out trying to drag and swiveling his head around making sure nothing else was coming to take his prize. We sat there like that for a good while with him staring at me then the rabbit then he finally put his other foot on the rabbit and settled down to pull fur and eat. At that time, I finally helped dispatch the rabbit. He mantled very possessively and every time he tried to turn away from me I would reposition myself to be in front of him. I gave him a couple of tidbits while he ate which he took no problem he even let me get in their and open up the rabbit for him and ate around my hand without footing me or biting me and after that he stopped trying to turn away. I cut off a back leg with my shears and turned around and fixed it onto his lure. I cut the foot off at the joint and placed it in my pocket. 

When he seemed like he was almost done with eating I tossed the lure out and he released the rabbit and took off for the lure. I deposited the rabbit remains in my vest and after he finished the lure he hopped up to the fist no problem to munch on the rabbit foot which I used as a tiring to keep him busy while we walked to the truck. My wife and daughter said I looked like a proud Pappa so it was definitely a good day. 

We are still having hooding issues, he just goes bat sheet crazy every time I try and hood him. We have had small successes. I think the trick is going to be hooding him everyday in almost near darkness then letting him sit like that for awhile till I feed him then back in the hood for a bit before he goes back to his mews or the weathering yard. I am going to make the hood an important part of his routine. I didn’t have this problem with my last bird but then like people all birds are different.

Hooding Success

Posted in Falconry on November 19, 2011 by ABS

Well we have been tidbitting out of the hood for the last five days and slipping the hood on and off for short periods of time. He doesn’t like it but he is progressing. Today I managed to get it cinched down nicely and he is on his perch wearing it for the evening. He isn’t whining but he is scratching at it evey few seconds. Tonight when I get home from work I will take it off and tidbit him. He goes in his giant hood nicely but I want him wed to the hood.

UISD Falconry Presentation

Posted in Falconry on November 19, 2011 by ABS

On 11/18/2011, My Sponsor, my daughter and I gave six separate 20 minute presentations on Falconry to six different classes at the United High School here in Laredo, Texas. It is interesting to see that almost every class had similar questions about falconry.

I showed a PowerPoint presentation covering the history of falconry, how to become an apprentice and spoke a little about Bird Abatement using falconry birds. I also stressed the importance of continuing education after High School whether it be joining the Military or going to college. I talked about my prior Military service, College and about where I work at now and how because of that I can enjoy the wonderful Art of Falconry.

What amazed me is after we went to the auditorium to get a photograph of all the Presenters, I was asked tons of questions by the faculty and the other presenters. I had a Lawyer approach me telling me how he has always been interested in falconry. I thought they were going to ask me to give them a presentation. I had an enjoyable time and look forward to doing these presentations more in the future.

They were dissappointed that they couldn’t touch or get near the hawk but when giving a presentation my Sponsor stressed the importance of safety at all times. In the photographs you see the bird has three feet of leash but the way he was strapped to my glove he couldn’t use it. Also, Kain did great he is really getting use to having a bunch of people around him. I am also glad I brought the Lysol wipes all messes were cleaned up quickly by my daughter.

Jump Up Training Again

Posted in Falconry on November 16, 2011 by ABS

Today, 11/16/2011, Kain weighed 764 grams at 11:00 AM. He sat in the weathering yard for 4 hours today enjoying the sun. I think he sneaked a couple of Caterpillar snacks running around in my weeds. At 1:00 PM, he weighed 752 grams when I started doing jump ups to the t-perch with him. I fed 55 grams and got 50 plus jump ups from him up to 10 feet in height. Little hesitation on the jump ups and with only three days of doing jumps ups I am seeing a lot of progression in strength. At the end of the session he weighed 798 grams. I want to bring his weight up so I will probably start feeding 60 grams and see how he starts gaining. I didn’t present the lure at all today.

Well tomorrow is Thursday and I am off. We are going to go to my Sponsor’s place and hunt tomorrow from the t-perch. Friday, I am doing two Falconry Presentations at the Laredo United High School with my Sponsor for a Senior Science Class for Career Day. He is bringing his Harris, Gordo, and I of course am bringing Kain. I told them I don’t have a Career in Falconry this is just a life long love for me. They don’t care they want to see something different so I will talk about Bird Abatement. I figure I would call some Bird abatement guys and get the scoop from them.

I really hope we get some good flights on rabbits tommorrow from the T-perch, even if he doesn’t kill just as long as we pull some fur and I get to hear some rabbits squeal.

T-Perch & Hood Training

Posted in Falconry on November 15, 2011 by ABS

Today, 11/15/2011, Kain was 749 grams at 1:14 PM. he sat out in the weathering yard most of the morning enjoying the sun, taking a bath and preening. We had him do about 25 jump ups but this time up to 15′ to the T-perch and as usual he struggled a bit to get up there. Then my daughter, Jasmine, and I flew him between us calling him to the fist for nice sized tidbits about 60 feet. He is definently responding better to the fist. Since now we aren’t presenting the lure except with the remainder of his feeding. Next we went inside and tidbitted him out of his hood about 8 times on the 9th time I slipped it over his head for a bit which of course he freaked but it stayed on. Then I popped it off and a tidbit was on the glove for him. We did this about 4 times. The 5th time we cinched the hood down and I placed him in his giant hood to rest with it on. He whined and whimpered for a bit but after about 10 minutes he settled down in the giant hood. After 40 minutes I pulled him out and unhooded him to a tidbit on the glove.

Then we went outside and called him to the lure for the remainder of his food. We fed a total of 59 grams because I want to bring his weight up to about 755/760 to see how he responds a bit heavier. We will try him out on the creance see how it works out. Remember we had some stoops but no connection with game so I want to strengthen him up. At 2:12 PM he weighed 798 grams. His weight is coming up but slowly. I am a big believer of changing their weight slowly.

T-perch Training & Jump Ups

Posted in Falconry on November 14, 2011 by ABS

Well today at 12;05 PM in the afternoon, Kain weighed 759 grams remember I fed him nice yesterday. He sat out on his weathering yard perch for about three hours today. At 1:16 PM, he weighed 754 grams so I swapped out his perch leash for a longer leash for practicing jump ups to the T-perch. I intorduced the t-perch by placing a fingernail sized tidbit on it and called him to it. He immediately flew to it. After that I kept raising the t-perch higher and higher for him to jump to. At about 10 feet off the ground he was taking longer and longer to jump up to it. I could tell he was getting a good workout because he was breathing very hard and struggling to make it to the top of the t-perch. He did 40 jump ups to the t-perch today and he looks burnt. He kept giving me this funny look like “Hey you fat Hillbilly? Why don’t you jump up?”

A couple of times I rotated the t-perch down to his weathering perch and would give him the command “Perch” and then do a couple “Step up” commands onto the t-perch. This is useful for trying to get him to step onto the perch when perched in a Mesquite tree or higher area. I have often seen my Sponsor use that technique with his Harris Hawks. When calling him to the t-perch I use a “Hup Hup” command later in the field that will be the command I use to call him to the t-perch as well. If I lived in an area with squirrels I wouldn’t do that because “Up” is used to teach a Red-tail to get higher on a tree to chase squirrels. Of course in the field I will use random tidbits on the t-perch when I call him to reinforce that is the place to be. He will never know if this time there will be a small snack on it. He is progressing very well.

Tommorrow I will call him to the fist between me and my wife for a larger tidbit and finish the session with a few jump ups to the t-perch. I am trying to change his behavior of wanting to only come to the lure. I won’t produce the lure again untill we get a nice hunt in and then I will present it only once at the end of the hunt. Glad I caught it early.

After we get him flying between my daughters and my t-perch in the field we will give him a baggie in the brush as well to reinforce that the t-perch is a good place to be and that staying with us is where the action is. I really enjoy training a new hawk and trying to figure out how to fix all the little things that arise. I am looking forward to an awesome hunting season.

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