Mostly a falconry journal, occasionally thoughts on other things...
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Let The Games Begin!
Trapping season is officially underway in Colorado. I was up at first light on Saturday with BC's ready to go and I was on the lookout for kestrels. It turned out to be one of the best days of trapping I've ever had!
Right off the bat, two kestrels sitting near each other, we toss the trap and:
Passage female! And it wasn't even 8:00 yet!
We forged on and made a somewhat long distance set on another bird. A fly by at first and then a bit more commitment and we had our second bird of the day! This one turned out to be a male hag. The cool thing was, it was banded!
I recorded the band number and made the call later in the day but they said the number was incomplete...Doh! I was referred to an authority on "partial" band numbers and left her a message but with the long weekend ahead I probably won't hear back for awhile. Bummer, it would be cool to get some history on a bird I trapped! The band actually had Laurel, MD written on it but I suspect that's where the band was manufactured rather than where the bird came from. A kestrel flying cross country east to west just doesn't make much sense to me but who knows. I hope the lady calls me back.
Moving along, we came upon a family group. 4 kestrels within 100 yards of each other, 3 of them sitting on the same pole at one point! We got a drop on them but as we passed the two we were after bumped to a telephone pole over a small rise near a railroad track (that's where they were joined by the 3rd from somewhere). The new location didn't offer a very good opportunity to set as there wasn't a road on the side of the tracks nearest them. We figured our original drop was a decent place though so we had one of the members of our team get out of the car and walk toward them. Sure enough, all 3 bumped BACK TOWARD THE TRAP and less than a minute later we had a passage male on the trap!! I was so amazed I forgot to take pictures! We couldn't miss today!
Onward, ever onward, we spotted a bird high on a telephone pole and made the drop on the corner of a dirt road intersection. It wasn't long before the bird dropped off to say hi to our BC mouse (we used the same mouse all day, he was used to this by now...). #4 was another male hag:
Shortly after that we were cruising down yet another dirt road and I happen to spot a bird on a wire right as we passed. The trap was tossed almost as an after thought as it seemed I barely had time to tap on the brake. She was on the trap before we turned around. We debated on whether or not she was a passage or a hag. I was arguing for the latter due to a wider last band on the tail and closer inspection revealed a still moulting tail feather and confirmed my suspicions. #5, a female hag:
A wrong turn took us pretty far out of kestrel country and we hit a slump after that. Mind you we'd been at it only a few hours at that point but with afternoon appointments looming we decided we'd had enough fun for the morning and headed home. 5 kestrels in about 4 hours ain't too shabby!
Soooo, did I keep one? Keep an eye on this space for more adventures to follow...
"The reward that comes from practicing falconry is, and has to be, a feeling of your own personal satisfaction; that, and that alone. Chances are no one else will be around when your hawk is at her best. Falconry is a tedious, time consuming effort with long periods of stress and anxiety punctuated by heartbeats of gut-wrenching visceral satisfaction so intense that is impossible to put into words."
--The California Hawking Club Apprenticeship Manual