By George, I think she's got it. I don't know if it has been the repeated baggies or what but things have started to click. The past three days when I've opened her mews, instead of trying to get away from me she jumps right to the fist. That's a very good sign.
Sunday we had another interesting baggie hunt. I figured I'd do the same as I did the day before, only tossing a starling instead of a sparrow from my hand and letting her catch it off the fist. There were quite a few mistakes in the set-up on my part and the starling made it to the nearest cover after the initial chase. I managed to flush it again but had to run through lots of stinging nettle...in shorts...and flip flops...to get it to break. My legs are still itching today!! But the kestrel was finally able to get a good shot at it and caught it as it tried to sneak through another patch of cover. Not really pretty, but we got the job done.
Yesterday it was back to sparrows and things couldn't have gone better. Since it was a sparrow I attached a light line to it to prevent possible carrying but gave it plenty of slack so that it could really fly. I walked out in to the field, tossed the sparrow, and she shot of the fist and slammed it into the ground 15 yards away. I moved to within 5 yards (since this was the same area the Cooper's visited us in a couple days ago) but let her finish off the sparrow and begin plucking. She looked around a couple times but did not attempt to carry!! After she'd taken a few bites I was able to move in and she jumped to the fist for a starling breast. PERFECT!!
So things are looking good. I had actually planned on hunting this morning before work but a slight miscalculation in weight and bad weather suggested I wait until the evening. I've got a few more sparrows but I think I'll go ahead and start hunting just to see how she reacts to the different set up. I'll use the baggies to end the hunt if we're not successful.
Hopefully I'll have hunting stories from here on out.
*I switched from the braided dacron jesses I was using to traditional leather which added about 3 grams to her weight. So if I was still using those jesses her flying weight would actually be around 98.5 grams.
James Lee Mansell, RIP
2 days ago