Archive for January, 2012

Small Female or Large Male?

Posted in Falconry on January 19, 2012 by ABS

Well on the 17th we released Kain. We usually fly him around 740 grams so we fed him up till he was holding 980 grams of weight over a couple of days. We cut his band of and mailed it back to Austin and released him in exactly the same place we caught him in Alice, Texas. We went back to Alice on the 18th and trapped again. Almost immediately after getting there we trapped a 1112 gram immature Red-tail.

Due to the weight I am unsure if this is a male or a female. This bird wasn’t sharp at all which I find kind of weird considering she was missing four tail feathers, two of which were the deck feathers. She was covered in feather mites as well but other than that looked to be a healthy successful hunter. I was going to release him/her to trap for a more feather perfect bird. BUT…. my daughter was like no dad this bird needs our help. I explained to her that I had never imped a bird’s tail feathers before to which she said no time like the present. Well damn…my daughter always wins. So we placed him/her which my daughter has no named “Aiel” in the giant hood and headed home.

As far as initial manning this bird didn’t dead bate but one time. She would rather be on the fist then hanging. Even with the hood on she sat the fist well not falling over or loosing balance. I am hoping these are all good signs. Well we picked up some bamboo skewers and 5 minute two part epoxy to imp Aiel’s tail back together.

As you can see above I had some molted feathers from my last bird though I did notice my last birds feather were a bit smaller than this ones. I completed the imping anyway I figured some feathers are better than none. By the way I researched imping feathers on NAFEX and frootdog has an awesome post there to walk you through this. I also watched quite a few videos on rehabbers/veternarians imping various birds on YouTube.

Here we go a brand new set of brakes all done. For my fist imp job I am pretty happy. I enjoyed doing it alot. I am going to have to steam one of the feathers to straighten it out more. On the 19th “Aiel” was taking tidbits and bending down a little bit. So things are progressing quite well.

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Trapping Again.

Posted in Falconry on January 17, 2012 by ABS

Well as stated before I haven’t been able to get out much during the Holiday season but on Wednesday, 12/28/2011, Kain and I took off for the field for a quick hunt. On that hunt he was again at 740 grams with gear. He followed a little better but I noticed he hangs back until I am almost out of sight of him before he decides to fly over and keep his walking refrigerator in sight. 

We practiced following quite a bit. I would get to a decent size Mesquite Tree and call him to the fist and once he got close I walked under the tree and he had to perch on it. Then I would walk to the next tree and call him down for a small finger nail size tidbit. He did stoop once but I wasn’t able to see what he was going after. We ended the hunt after an hour and a half with a nice lure chase for the remainder of his daily meal. 

About two weeks after I trapped him he started this incessant screaming/chirping which is quite annoying. The only time he doesn’t do it is when he is on his perch in the weathering yard, in the Giant Hood or hunting. Well on January 5, 2012, My Sponsor came over to check him out. He said Kain is begging and he believes that when I trapped him back in October he hadn’t been out of the nest long. My Sponsor suggested feeding him up heavy and cutting him loose so I can go trap a big female that has been successfully hunting these past few months. So since then I have been feeding him up to release. 

This news kind of hurt us because we had paid for going to the Texas Hawking Event in Abilene,Texas to finally meet some Texas Falconers. We even reserved the rooms at the hotel and my wife was kind of looking forward to meeting some of the other falconer’s wives. We decided not to go and to use the four days to go out trapping to find another Red-tail. My wife is really pissed. If I catch another immature it will be a tight run to hunt, because it will take me about 20 days to train and get him/her hunting with me. That puts me hunting sometime around mid to late February and here hunting with a Red-tail tends to end mid-March which is when the urge to migrate I believe kicks in. Wish me luck.

Once I finish my apprenticeship and get my general I of course will fly a Harris Hawk down here. With no large trees and no squirrels it make hunting a red-tail down here difficult at best. My Sponsor believes that flying a red-tail as an apprentice down here is super difficult and a little dis-heartening but you appreciate the successes even more. He believes that if an apprentice is willing to stick out the whole two years down here with a red-tail that they earn the right to fly a Harris. Which down here is the king of the brush. But I have to admit I think the red-tail is a much prettier bird.

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.