Dulci was fat today. Fatter than I've ever flown her in fact. For some reason her food was sticking to her like a fly on fly paper. She got 10 grams on Friday morning before I left to work and by the time I'd returned had only lost 5 of those. When I went to bed Friday night I was more than a bit concerned, at over 97 grams she'd have to have some pretty darn active dreams to shed enough weight to reach her flying weight of 89 the next day.
Well, no "sleep flying" for her, she weighed in at a hefty 94.5 this morning as opposed to the 91.5g I usually wake to. The possibility of missing one of my only hawking days had me seriously concerned. I opened a window next to her, I installed an "exercise system" on her perch, all to no avail. By 3:30 she'd only lost another 2.3g.
The highest I've ever flown her was at 90.7 for her first free flight. Of course that was then and I'm much more confident in her returning now but still, 92.2?? What to do, what to do? It's these types of temptations that can lead to lost birds...
It's awfully hard for me to give up a day of hawking though. Off we went with the condition that today was starlings only, I didn't want to run the risk of her carrying a sparrow.
As luck would have it, after a bit of searching we found a perfect starling slip. A group of 30, maybe more, feeding in a field. Dulci was slipped about 30 yards out, the flock rose when they saw her in bound but it was too late. Dulci plowed in to her victim about 10 feet off the ground and they tumbled earthward as the rest of the frantic flock headed for safety. It was a thing of beauty!!
I jogged over somewhat in disbelief. There she was mantling over the struggling starling, my eyes had not decieved me, she'd actually caught it! I jogged over to finish off the starling before taking some pics. The victim was screaming its head off and I could see that Dulci didn't have the best grip. As I bent down to grab the starling DULCI LET IT GO!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!
Fat bird? Bad grip? I don't know. Disappointed? Yup.
It was a beautiful flight though and I suppose that's what we're after, right? *Sigh*
Back at it again tomorrow.