Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend Update

We had a good day on Saturday but came home empty handed.

I made some lighter jesses on Friday night (2.7g total) but the snaps on these ones didn't seem all that solid. The first slip of the day proved my concerns valid. He was slipped at a good group of sparrows near an evergreen tree surrounded by hedges. The sparrows ducked into the evergreen tree and he plowed in after them, chasing them out in to the hedge on foot before he decided he'd missed his chance. I called him back to the fist and realized he no longer had jesses on!! They must've popped off in the foot race! Luckily I'd brought my heavier back up pair so I snapped those on before looking for the wayward jesses under the evergreen. Alas, they had disappeared without a trace so we spent the rest of the morning with the heavier jesses again. (I did swing by Hobby Lobby to pick up more snaps to make lighter jesses again on my way home...)

A quick check at some of my other spots only produced one more slip, another one at sparrows, and again they got back in the hedge before Hayduke could connect. Time was getting short so I decided to head back toward home thinking I'd check the shopping center where Hayduke caught the sparrow last week. There's a restaurant there that always seems to attract a good group of starlings in the morning and sure enough, they were there. Hayduke took a slip at one of them but it was a little too far out and got off the gound before he could get close. He landed on a handicapped parking sign just as I heard a *thunk*. His appearance had caused at least one starling to slam itself into the retaurant windows! But it wasn't the one Hayduke was after and he didn't notice. The dazed starling recovered quickly made good on its retreat. I'm pleased he's going after starlings now though!

The next slip was at a mixed group of sparrows and starlings next to a dumpster. In all honesty I don't think Hayduke liked the slip in the first place but a gentle toss sent him on his way. It was a half hearted flight though and everything got up well before he arrived. The final slip was a fun one. A short slip at four or five sparrows next to some pallets. Hayduke almost slammed one on the initial slip but it just squirted out underneath him and dove into the pallets. I'd read about "pallet hawking" in the Mullenix book but this was my first time experiencing it. Hayduke went on the hunt crawling through the pallets after the fleeing sparrows and I did my best to assist but we were obvious amateurs and the sparrows eventually found one of the many unblocked exits and made a quick escape. Kinda fun to watch Hayduke in the pallets though.

I needed to get home but thought I'd swing through the Walmart parking lot one more time before heading home. Before I'd even pulled into the parking lot though I could see that people had started to wake up, the early morning shoppers were joined by food bank volunteers collecting just outside the entrance. I decided to forego any slips there might have been due to all the people but no sooner had that thought formed when I saw a streamlined shape gliding past me to the left. A passage male coops pumped once or twice and almost snagged a sparrow under a parked car just in front of me and directly in front of the front doors of Walmart! So I got to see one last flight, just not from my bird! Of course none of the shoppers or the volunteers noticed it.

The coops pitched up and landed on a light pole so I whipped out the camera to take a quick shot thinking that all the commotion in front of the building would send the coops on its way quickly but it just sat there. I was able to walk directly underneath it and snap a few photos (these were with a regular point and shoot with not much of a zoom!):

Hayduke was understandably unnerved by the appearance of the Coopers Hawk (a coops would eat Hayduke just as soon as a sparrow) so we called it a day and headed home. All in all, a fun morning.

7 comments:

steveo_uk said...

we where much the same this weekend, a few good slips and chase but no eventual connection

Chas S. Clifton said...

A bit of raptor drama and no one else saw it. Typical.

Snow on the ground here, so maybe we will have the usual sharpie-strafes-the-bird-feeder scenario.

Isaac said...

Typical indeed. I remember watching a wild peregrine stoop a flock of pigeons multiple times over a crowded shopping center in Japan and not a soul looked up.

Snow on the ground up here as well so I'm sure all the bird feeders will be staked out by some sort of raptor!

Anonymous said...

hi, my name is colton jordan
and im looking for a sponser.
no luck yet so if anyone can help me. i live in
oklahoma, woorward

Isaac said...

Hi Colton,

It's a good time to live in Woodward, OK. The NAFA (North American Falconers Association) meet is taking place there all this week! There will be more falconers in that city this week than anywhere in the country the rest of the year. Check some of the local hotels out, you should be able to find all the falconers you need...Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Could you explain your jess setup? Are they "snap ons" like Matt used on his kestrels or actual metal snaps? I am always interested in new techniques for the little falcons. thanks

Zac

Isaac said...

Hi Zac,

Not sure about the snap-ons that Matt used (Mullenix, I assume?) or how they differ from metal snaps but metal snaps is what I'm using.

He unfortunately got some ugly scale damage on his left leg due to a poor set-up when I first got him. I didn't want to tether him any more so he's free lofted outside and would pull out any jesses I tried leaving on him so I just cut the jesses off and use these snap jesses. They are just buttons from Hobby Lobby attached to the ankle end of the jesses. I just snap them on when I want to fly and snap them back off when I put him in the mews. Pretty simple but they work great!

Hope that answers your question. Thanks for stopping by!