Monday, October 18, 2010
Couldn't be happier for our second week hunting.
With my wife and kids in tow I wanted it to be a good outing and surprisingly there were a lot of birds out and about. We had a decent slip at sparrows in a Home Depot parking lot and then found a group of about 20 starlings feeding out in a field. I tried to get as close as possible before throwing Goliath at them but they busted while I was still 20 yards away. I tossed him anyway but he just went up in a tree and yelled at me until I showed him some food. I got another toss at some sparrows on the way back to the car but that one didn't work out either.
We then headed to the Walmart where I caught the sparrow yesterday and hit the jackpot! The hedges were LOADED with sparrows. After he missed on the first slip I tossed him at some stragglers trying to hide in a small pine tree. I kicked the tree and tossed him at the fleeing birds and he chased for a bit before landing on a light pole directly above me. It was kind of cool to see him stoop to the fist from that angle when I brought out a tidbit.
We went back to the original hedge and the sparrows had returned. He shot off the fist and this time I saw him snag one on the edge of cover before he disappeared. I'd forgotten my good camera so I grabbed my cell phone and snapped this quick pic of him buried in the hedge:
I reached in and was able to grab a hold of the sparrow and lift them both out of the hedge. #2 in the bag! I snapped this photo with the good camera when we got home:
A crazy side note to the story is that last year I flew Hayduke several time in the same area. I was still experimenting with snap jesses at the time and had a pair whose snaps didn't quite "snap" like they were supposed to. Hayduke chased some sparrows into the very same hedge one time and came out without jesses. Luckily I had another pair and the day went on just fine. It's been almost a year since that happened but yesterday as I headed back to the car with Goliath and his sparrow in tow, my wife points to the curb and says, "Are those yours?" I took a look and said, "Yeah, they're mine from a year ago!" They were dirty and pretty crusty but otherwise in good shape (not that I'll use them, since the snaps are bad but still...). Crazy:
Saturday, October 16, 2010
We're officially on the board. We headed out at first light and found quite a few birds on the ground. I tried to sneak up on several groups of starlings and throw Goliath at them like we've been practicing but never got close enough for a good attempt. I did get a toss at some sparrows but Goliath overshot and went up to some telephone wires. At 87.4g he was back on my fist before I even had a chance to pull out a tidbit though! I knew he was ready, it was just a matter of finding the right slip.
The right slip presented itself in the way of a large group of sparrows hopping about on the edge of a low hedge at Walmart. Goliath darted off the fist and disappeared in the bushes. I honestly didn't think he got one but cautiously moved the bushes aside and found that he had one tightly by the neck. Bingo, sparrow #1 in the bag. I believe that my last bird, Hayduke, caught his first sparrow on the 17th of October last year so we're right on track.
If that wasn't good enough, we then went over to a nearby industrial park to fly my friend's red-tail. We had a couple close calls with some bunnies being flushed from some cattails and then a bit of confusion between his bird, a wild immature red-tail, and an owl all in the same tree, but his bird ended up catching a bunny off the fist in a nice short flight through some landscaping.
It was an awkward catch at first with the bird being pretty tangled in the bush:
But we got things sorted out:
All in all a FANTASTIC morning and hopefully the start of many more morning just like it!
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Not Goliath's mind you, but I'm pretty proud of this one nonetheless.
This is my buddy's bird (from this post) on it's first bunny:
22 days from trap to first free flight, 25 until first kill. Not too shabby given that my friend had never handled a bird until this year!
I'm his quasi-sponsor due to the fact that, on paper, I'm still an apprentice and I kept telling him that once the bird is flying reliably to the fist he should go hunting. There's other training that can be done, to the lure, following on, etc., but in my opinion it's better to get the bird hunting again as soon as possible. Everything else is just frills. (Necessary frills in some cases, but frills regardless.)
He took my advice to heart and even without me or his other, real sponsor there he flew it free at 22 days and had 4 bunny chases then yesterday he sends me this picture. Absolutely fantastic! He's going to be a fantastic addition to the falconer pool and he's going to have a great season with that bird!
So you may be wondering, if it's best to get the bird out hunting as fast as possible...and he trapped his bird AFTER I trapped Goliath...AND he's got less experience...why isn't Goliath out there hunting...? Time constraints conspire against me but hopefully this weekend.