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!!
James Lee Mansell, RIP
2 days ago