Monday, December 21, 2009

Starling Number 3!

We headed out around 10 a.m. on Saturday, a little later than I would've liked to. There's just too many people out and about after about 9:30, especially this time of year! My usual spots were, as suspected, quite crowded. I did get a couple of sparrow slips in some hedges on the edge of a parking lot but despite my kicking those sparrows did NOT want to leave the cover after they knew Hayduke was in the area so we moved on.

I saw a few starlings drop into a grassy area in a shopping center across from where I was so I headed over that way and much to my astonishment I found that the "grassy area" was a the middle of the shopping center! It was the weirdest spot for a cemetary I've ever seen with a carwash and Wendy's literally right next to it and surrounded by the shopping center parking lot on 3 sides! I wonder if it's just been there forever and just got built around. Anyway, most the starlings were on the inside, or sitting on top of, a tall wrought iron fence surrounding the cemetary but there was a single picking at some trash in the middle of the parking lot. Surprisingly enough, this parking lot was pretty empty but that worked against us as the starling saw Hayduke coming long before he got there. He tail chased for a second or two but quickly saw he was beat. I called him back to the fist and we headed elsewhere.

I actually suspected my hawking was over at that point as I had to run some errands. As I headed to my various appointments however, I noticed a good group of starlings fly over me on the road and they looked to be putting down behind a museum. Worth a shot, right? Sure enough, the ones I'd seen flying had landed and joined at least 50 more milling around the hedges surrounding the parking lot and picking through the grass in the empty lot next to it. As luck would have it though, just as I was getting ready for a slip, a car pulled up right next to the hedges and the "slippable" starlings bumped. They didn't go far, in fact they just went to the shrubs next to the museum, but they landed in between a couple of parked cars that made it a difficult slip. There was a car, an empty slot where the starlings were feeding, and another parked car. Well, never try never know I thought and slipped Hayduke. He threaded the parked cars and slammed his 3rd starling up against the curb. When I got to him he had one foot around it's neck and the other foot around its beak, apparently saying, "Shut your mouth sucka, you're mine!"

I snapped some nicer photo's (like the one above) with my better camera but I love his posture in this pic. He just looks like one bad dude!

On a side note, Hayduke has taken starlings the last three times we've been out. Yeah, if you look at the date on those posts, there are quite a few days in between each of those so I only post that to say even with limited time and not flying everyday (that'll change come spring...), kestrels can still be quite effective. There's no excuse not to kill game with these guys!


Dan said...

heck ya! that's what i'm talkin about brother! Congrats

Isaac said...

Thanks Dan, he's really shaping up to be an awesome little bird!

Mom N said...

I love hearing about these adventures. Thanks for the pics (yeah, he looks, like, MEAN) and the stories. They're worth a million.