Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend Hunts

Looking back, I picked up this bird on the 3rd of this month with low expectations. Today is the last day of the month and I couldn't be more excited for her prospects.

The last two days have been absolutely fantastic. 3 good starling chases on Saturday morning and a half dozen or so today where she chased amazingly well, only very narrowly missing on a couple of occasions. There's no more "buzzing" the glove, she comes right down for a tidbit now. She seems like a completely different bird!

One flight that I'll share: An adult starling was feeding with a juvenile near a hedge with some small trees over head. Less than ideal conditions what with the cover so near by but I figured what the heck. It was about a 15 yard slip and the adult squawked a warning and jumped up in the tree when the kestrel was about 10 yards away. The juvenile headed for the hedge another five yards away but obviously wasn't a strong flier yet. Lucky little bugger barely made it and the kestrel pitched up into the tree setting off a chorus of starling cackles from the upset family. I thought for sure she was going to get that one!

Another interesting occurance happened when the kestrel was sitting in a tree after another missed slip. Out of nowhere, a grackle comes diving in and actually knocks her off the branch! They usually just buzz her but there was an audible *thwack* as this one must've been particularly perturbed by her presence. Grackles are aggresive little buggers!!

Anyway, I'm as pleased as punch with her weekend performance and now it's only a matter of time before we start putting them in the bag. I'm seriously amazed at her turn around but it just highlights the importance of weight control with kestrels. At 97.7 she was still buzzing the glove and took 20-30 minutes to get down. At 97.1 she's all business.

It's gonna be a fun summer!!


Doug said...

That is awesome. I'm tempted to take Gonzo out of the breeding chamber (no luck yet) and start slamming some starlings.


Isaac said...

Thanks Doug, I'm pretty excited. Looks like weather is going to keep us grounded for the next couple days but we'll be out again soon enough and those starlings and sparrows better watch out!

steveo_uk said...

Sounds like your having a lot of fun, Really pleased things have worked out so well so quickly

Isaac said...

I am having fun! It worked out faster than I thought it would. Now if it would just stop raining I could go catch some starlings!!

Jacob said...

(This is actually Mom writing, not Jake--he invaded my computer territory while we were gone and I forgot to log back on as myself.)

Way to go Ike! Awesome! Lots to be said for a good falconer's technique, I'm sure.

Yeah, we caught that weather coming and going last week. It'll pass soon enough, I imagine--meanwhile I'm glad it was just thunderstorms holding us up and not some disappearing demon like that Air France jet encountered.

Keep up the excellent work!

steveo_uk said...

I know how you feel about the rain, Everytime i think about going to lowes to get some wood for my muse we have tropical storms!