Archive for November, 2011

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.

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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.

Practice/Training Hunt #4

Posted in Falconry on November 13, 2011 by ABS

Today, 11/13/2011 at 11:50 AM, Kain weighed 744 grams with his anklets and bells. My daughter and I took the bird out again for a practice hunt. He stooped once after a rat again in some high brush but missed. Again we beat the brush all around and weren’t able to give him a good slip. He kept doing the same thing flying off to a higher perch by some houses so he was never in a good position for any slips we did manage to kick up. Though we have run into a new minor problem. He has learned that the fist has food but only a small amount but the lure is a feast. About the third time I had to use the lure to get him to come it finally dawned on me that this bird was TRAINING ME! We stopped hunting after an hour and a half and went home. Once home we cut up the remainder of his meat in somewhat largish pieces and flew him between us calling him to the fist. We took the remaining 10 grams and started tidbitting him out of his hood to start training him to the hood. His total ration for the day was 63 grams because I don’t want him down at 744 which is really 721 grams for his weight without furniture. To low I think.

Tomorrow and the next day we will start jump up training, T-Perch training and hood training using larger pieces, no hunting and no lure. Then we will introduce the lure slowly but no more throwing it out more than once in a hunt to finish the day. Lesson learned; DON”T LET THE BIRD TRAIN YOU! I thought I had learned this lesson.

I let my daughter handle the bird a lot today though it wasn’t her letting the bird train me it was all me. My experience with my last bird, Noel, was she would use the T-perch but not a lot. She’d ride on if for a bit then take off for the nearest decent sized Mesquite tree. When we would almost get out of eye sight she would fly over land on the t-perch for a bit then back to another close high perch. I am thinking of making another t-perch and training him to fly from one to the other for tidbits over and over for a couple of days to make it a preferable area to ride on. Then we will place him on a creance and walk with him on the t-perches calling him from one to the other. If all that goes well we will finally attempt to put baggies in pre-planned spots that he would only have seen if on the T-perch I believe that may trick him to relying on it more.

Before going Jasmine swapped out the Mews Jesses for the Hunting Jesses.

A Headless Redtail

Posted in Falconry on November 12, 2011 by ABS

I had to post this picture. Last night I got home from work at 3 AM and as always I pop in and check on the bird. He was tucked in sleeping hard as I opened the door. He untucked looked at me, roused, and tucked his head back in to go to sleep like I wasn’t even there. He is definently getting use to us.