I actually wasn't all that keen on the prospects. I had shown Hayduke what should have been a fairly simple slip at starlings on Friday evening and he didn't even flinch. He was a bit higher than I would've liked him but only by a gram or so (79g vs. 77.8g). So I had my noose carpet along and was more out for baggies than actually hunting.
First stop at a Wal-mart parking lot where I caught my baggie starling last week. Last week was a lot colder though so I think it helped bring the starlings down. There were a few hanging around on light posts but none were interested in coming down to my noose carpet. I thought I saw some sparrows fly into a hedge so I got Hayduke out and kicked around but nothing came out. No sense wasting my limited time there so I hopped back in the car and headed over to a larger shopping center where there's always tons of starlings.
As I pulled into the shopping center I thought I saw a couple starlings cruising low with their landing gear down on a far edge. I headed in that direction and sure enough, someone had spilled something the night before and there was maybe half a dozen starlings munching on the leftovers. Noose carpet or bird? I figured I'd get the bird out, if he went for them great, if not and they bumped I'd put the noose carpet over what they'd been eating. Well being pre-occupied getting the bird out, I missed all the starlings leaving! So it was a no-go on either option but then I noticed Hayduke bobbing his head toward some ivy against the wall of a building...a closer look revealed a lesser spill on the ground in front of the ivy with 4 or 5 sparrows staking a claim. So I headed in that direction.
Hayduke knew they were there but wasn't showing quite the "intensity" that Dulci showed. The sparrows were completely oblivious so I wasn't going to pass the opportunity up waiting for Hayduke to make up his mind. I gave a gentle toss in their direction and I guess that's all the encouragment he needed. He bolted off the fist and plowed into the middle of the group about 15 ft. away, snatching up his first kill!
That was the moment I realized I'd forgotten any kind of camera, even my cell phone, at home! It was a beautiful sight to seem him with his wings spread munching on a freshly caught sparrow. I wasn't sure how he'd be with a sparrow in his feet as I approached but showing him a small tidbit was all it took to get him to sit still. I reached in, scooped up him and the sparrow and headed back to the car.
I snapped this crappy picture with my cell phone when I got home. I guess its better than nothing:
It was nothing too spectacular but I'm pretty pleased to have that first kill under my belt. It may take some more work to get him on starlings but we'll get there. We're on the board now and he's got the idea. I was out this afternoon and he wanted every sparrow we passed. Unfortunately none of them were in any position to actually get a slip. He did get one chance at a group in front of a restaurant but they saw him long before he actually got there. We'll try again tomorrow.