Mostly a falconry journal, occasionally thoughts on other things...
Monday, January 09, 2006
It's been awhile since I posted. I've just had a hard time bringing myself to put it out in print that Spark died. On New Year's Eve I took her out after pigeons. We found the usual flocks and were trying to get a good slip but it seemed that no matter how close I would get to the pigeons she had no interest in them. At one point I swear I was only 10 feet (maybe less!) from a pigeon and she ignored it. I figured something might be wrong so when I got back to the scooter I started to feed her up. She ate a couple bites and then muted blood! I rushed over to the clubhouse to see if Uchimura had any idea what it could be but he was at a loss too. During the New Year's holiday everything is closed, including vets, so I had no place to take her. I tried to feed her a bit more out there but she didn't want any food. I figured that since she'd eaten a fair bit (40 grams) she was just full and didn't want anymore and I'd try to feed her again first thing in the morning. The next morning she had regurgatated some of the food she'd eaten the day before and there was more blood in her box. There wasn't much I could do except keep her warm and relaxed. I put her on a bow perch in my apartment with the heater on low but she continued to regurgate the rest of her crop throughout the day. Around 5 p.m. she fell off her perch and couldn't regain her perch. I held her in a towel in my hands and watched the life gradually drain out while tears ran down my cheeks. At 7 p.m. she had a final burst of energy that sent her from my hands to the floor. When I picked her up I knew she was gone. Even though I knew she was going to die when I opened her box and saw the regurgatated food, and thought I had prepared myself for it, I hadn't cried like that in a long time. I sent her body in for a necropsy to determine what killed her but the guy who is doing it lives on another island of Japan and is doing if for free so it may be awhile before I get the results back. In the meantime I will be finishing out the season with the male Harris that I have been working with. Not quite the same little ball of fire but he has his own personality quirks that make him interesting. I'm not one to mourn for long periods of time, sometimes crap happens and there's nothing to do about it but face forward and move on. I have a lot of good memories with her though and those will live on. She was a good bird.
"The reward that comes from practicing falconry is, and has to be, a feeling of your own personal satisfaction; that, and that alone. Chances are no one else will be around when your hawk is at her best. Falconry is a tedious, time consuming effort with long periods of stress and anxiety punctuated by heartbeats of gut-wrenching visceral satisfaction so intense that is impossible to put into words."
--The California Hawking Club Apprenticeship Manual