Mostly a falconry journal, occasionally thoughts on other things...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
First Starling of the Season!
Had some time this morning so we went over to a nearby Walmart to see what was about. Goliath was heavier than I've ever flown him (90 grams) but I figured 'ta heck with it' and was really quite pleased at his performance.
While I've been throwing him at starling carcasses for quite awhile now he's never actually had a good shot at one. I found a group of half a dozen or so feeding on the side of the building and got about 15 yards away before they started looking jumpy so I gave him a toss...They flushed well before he got there but he made them squawk for sure and then landed on top of a Home Depot next door. With his weight being high I wasn't sure how his response would be but I held my fist up without a tidbit and he came right back. Fantastic start!
Our next slip was in the grass along the side of a restaurant. I was able to sneak a little closer this time and Goliath was right on top of one this time, I swear he grazed it's back, but it managed to evade him again. Still, he was chasing starlings so I was tickled pink! It took awhile longer to find our next slip. I noticed a bunch of starlings feeding in between some parked cars. They seemed skittish but using the cars as cover I was able to get quite close. I should've thrown him but I thought they'd flush and my thinking was that if I held him up high on my fist he'd have a shot at them on the rise. Well, they didn't flush and Goliath smacked this one in a short flight in between the cars! Really not that much of a flight but for his first starling, I'll take it! I'd really like to work the throwing thing out but he's pretty good at these short flights off the fist!
"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