Saturday, February 27, 2010

Somethins just gotta give

Life is a whirl wind right now. With everything going on, I have found myself with less and less time to spend on the computer, and the blog is having to suffer. The bird is coming along really well, and I have been getting in daily sessions. I'm not sure when I will be able to get back into the groove of things (as far as posts go), but it will happen sometime....Probably once I get a job nailed down, and get back into the rythm of life. If I'm still crazy busy by then, then it will probably just be the sporadic update until next season. Anyways, with everyones hawking season drawing to a close, I just want to wish everyone the best of luck with the moult/new eyasses this summer, and hope everyone accomplished their goals for the season. I plan on flying through the spring, and hopefully will be able to capitolize on the fresh batch of youngsters that are about to be hopping around everywhere. Until next time my friends
-Dan-

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Update

Went out hawkin with Jeff yesterday. He showed me LOADS of good pigeon spots, so hopefully I will be able to give Sayda more slips now. Jeff has been pushin his girls weight up little by little in order to find her top end, and I'm thinkin he pretty much found it. video Her recall was a little slow, but she still did well. Put a few starlings in the bag, and it was good times for sure! As you all have figured out, my camera is pretty weak, and my picture taking/video skills are lacking as well....but I still managed a few videos that didn't turn out TOO bad:). Pigeons where not being helpful yesterday though, and we didn't put any in the bag. We had one slip that was pretty long, but she just didn't see them until she was already out the window. Pulled up to the top of a power pole, and I called her down without too much hesitation. Continued on, and we found a group of about four or five milling around on the ground. They where in a sorta awkward position though, which forced me to slip her a little bit earlier than I had wanted to. video They saw her as she left the window, so she only put in a half hearted attempt at them. Flew up into a tree, and didn't want to come down. Ended up flying across the street, and we had to drive over there to call her down to the lure. She was at 607 grams again, so I was thinking she should do well, but she didn't. Last time, she had had 36 hours between feeds, so she was dynamite. Yesterday, she had less than 24 hours between the feeds, so she just didn't "feel" as hungry, even though her weight was the same. Headed back to the house, and there was THE PERFECT SLIP right at 71st and riverside. Though she had had her full amount of food, I knew it was still in her crop, so I slipped her anyways. She hauled balls at them, and just BARELY missed. Called it a day, and I planned to have her slightly lower for the session today. My math was correct, and she was at 597 grams this morning, so we headed out looking for birds. It was nice and sunny today, and the wind wasn't blowing as hard as yesterday, so the birds where out in force. Unfortunately, the pigeons where not! They where all flying around, and enjoying the nice day, and didn't want to come down and play. Found four really good slips over the course of the day, but they all got messed up one way or another. The first was a group of about ten or so milling around on the ground right next to the road. Flipped the car around, and was about to go slip her, when I truck pulled up RIGHT where they where, and a dude got out to get the mail. WEAK! They all busted, so we moved on. Found another single next to the road, but that one also busted before I could get back for the slip. Headed down to Jonathan's neighborhood, and I found a nice single milling around, and AGAIN, it was busted by a passer by. WEAK! Headed back toward "the pigeon spot", and we found a group of five hanging out in a planter next to a building down town. Went around the block, and we where coming up for the slip, when someone parked on the same side, and then walked right through the middle of them....busted again....WEAK! Ended up just giving her a bagger b/c she had been so patient with me, and I'm hoping for a better session tommorow. I think the weight she was at today was perfect...she was sleeked down and looking out of the car the entire time, and bated LIKE CRAZY at anything with a wing on it. Going to have her at the same spot tommorow, and hopefully Jeff, Ryan, and I are going to have a good car hawking session. HOPEFULLY, they will hawk their kestrels at the same time, and we can get some cool videos of the birds going out both sides of the car at the same time....fingers crossed for some goodness! Though we didn't have any slips today, I wanted to show my buddy a good time, so when we saw a hag coops fly across the road, I couldn't help but toss out a bagger for it. It came down without hesitating a bit, and we got to watch her eat it....pretty neat for sure

Monday, February 15, 2010

OH $hit! She is turning it on!!!!

I'm so proud of my little girl!!!!! It has been a long journey, and there have been a lot of ups and downs, but it's on now! Sayda weighed in at 607 grams when I decided to go fly today. When she caught and carried the starling, she was at 587 grams (so quite a bit more than then), but she was bating and talkin like crazy, so I decided we needed to fly. Headed right across the river first, but we just didn't find any pigeon slips....TONS of starlings, but no pigs. Headed out to west Tulsa around where the dumpsite is and what not, and again....no pigs...just starlings. Found a NICE slip on three crows, but they where mixed in with the starlings, and i just didn't want to take it. Continued on, and we headed down the access road that runs along 44. Tons of pigeons up on the wire by "the pigeon spot", but none where on the ground. Lindz needed to leave for work at 3:30 PM, so around 3:10 or so, I gave up and decided to give her a bagger. Did great on that, but I only gave her half a starling breast on the lure, and then hopped her up for a leg. We where heading back toward the high way (which passes by the pigeon spot), and guess what???? Yup...ten of them where pecking around on the ground. As we where approaching, another five or so flew down, and Sayda started bating like CRAZY. I was like...what the heck....so I decided to fly them. Incase you don't rememeber the setup, I will refresh your memory. There is a building whose parking lot is sorta dug into the side of a hill....it has concrete walls surrounding it. Anyways, the access road to this building runs just to the left of the top of the wall, and the spot that the pigeons are always at is hidden from view when you start driving down the road. Sayda had seen them going down though(plus we have done this slip before), so she new EXACTLY where she was going. Slipped her out of the window, and she cruised in low, and then dipped hard below the wall. The pigs saw her coming when she crested the wall, and all scattered up into the air. Sayda had gone below the wall (so I couldn't see where she was), and then she came shootin STRAIGHT up into the air underneith the group of pigeons. She flew up between 10 and 15 feet into the air, shot her feet out, and slammed the pigeon from underneith...they cartwheeled through the air, and came to rest on the ground. I lept from the car, and jumped down from the top of the wall into the parking lot. They where fighting it out on the ground, and then I see her shoot a foot out and secure it's head. I get about five yards from her, when out of no where, a cat comes shooting out of a bush STRAIGHT for Sayda. I'm thinkin there is about to be a dead cat if I get there quick enough, but the cat closed the distance quicker than I did. I'm yelling and waving, and the cat hesitated JUST for a second. That was all Sayda needed, b/c she released the pigeon, flipped around, and shot a foot out and grabbed the cats nose. It wasn't a committed grab...she just footed it, but that (combined with my arrival) was enough to send that pussy runnin! Sayda flips back around, and starts looking around everywhere in the pile of feathers (I guess she was thinkin this bird would be attached to a string like the others, and it SHOULD still be there....nope!). It was pretty funny...you could pretty much see the wheels spinning in her head like WTF?!?!?!?!? I know I just had that pigeon right here.....all that's left is a pile of feathers.....where did it go???? She footed around the feathers for a good minute or two, before she gave up, and hopped to the fist for a nice reward. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO....I'm gonna count it. I wasn't going to at first....but I'm going to. She earned it. She caught it IN the air, brought it down, and had it under control....there was no way she would have lost it had the cat not tried to jump her, and had I somehow made it to her quicker....it would have been in the bag.....I'm counting it....talk noise if you want, but I'm counting it! So recap...first slip last time...caught a starling. First slip today...caught a pigeon! The ball is finally roling! Didn't feed her too much, so as long as it's not too crazy windy tommorow, I'm going car hawking with Jeff in the morning. Fingers crossed we will catch another one!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Good day

Jeff met me at my house this morning at 6:30 AM (thanks a TON man!), and we headed back to Sayda's tree. She was still there when we arrived, so we tossed a starling in the yard across the street, and then waited for the sun to rise. This starling was DEF doing it's job, and he flapped around tirelessly the whole time. Pretty much right as the sun was beginning to rise, I stuck another one out there in the yard that the tree was in, just to give her some options (and to guarantee at least one would be flapping all the time). All of a sudden, a bunch of starlings broke out of the tree, and Jeff thought that was a good sign that she was waking up. Sure enough, a few minutes later, she comes flying out of the tree, and hits the starling we had set up across the street. She was REALLY jumpy, and after letting go and recapturing the starling a couple times, abandoned it, and flew across the street to the other one. Couldn't really figure out why she did this, but now that I think about it....that starling was under a tree.....she felt more secure on that one (even though she was still out in the open....)....that, or else me getting out of the car bumped her off of the first one, but I don't really think that's what caused it. Anyways, grabbed the starling she didn't end up with, and stuck it back in the car, and then I meandered my way to her, and secured the starling. Quick dispatch, and then I traded her off to the lure. I had A TON of food on there from yesterday, so I let her eat a tiny bit, and then I hopped her to the fist for a starling leg.....over all, she just didn't get much food. Later I discovered this was DEF a good thing, b/c she weighed in at 643 grams when I stuck her on the digi. FAT GIRL! All's well that ends well I guess, and hopefully she will have a huge casting, and be down to weight tommorow. Went to Bartlesville with Jonathan the rest of the day, and we hawked bunnies with Kent. His harris had a NICE flight that was at least a hundred yards or more. He closed the gap quickly, and we heard the squeel of the rabbit. Unfortunately, he got kicked off, but remounted and put in a pretty good chase after it. Had more slips, but that was def the most memorable of the day. Headed to a dif field that has only been flown once (Dee Dee caught a rabbit there), and we flew Shaung for a bit. There are cedars EVERYWHERE, and the rabbits have def figured out how to utilize them. Shaung had some nice chases, but didn't manage to connect. Took a break for lunch and to do the whole reset on Shaung, and then Jonathan headed out to a dif field and scored a bunny (like...number 35 or something....heck ya!!!!!). While he was doing that, I went car hawking with the VanZant family, and Gizmo scored some more starlings for the tally board. Had a really neat flight where she whipped up under a deck chasing a bird, and then they both came out the other side....Gizmo tight on it's heals. Once they broke the cover though, the starling skied up, and the kestrel pulled off for a fence perch....still a pretty tight flight! Imped the last three bad tail feathers on Sayda, and then we headed on back to T-town. Good day for sure, and I'm psyched for the upcoming week of hawkin.

Friday, February 12, 2010

1st Kill! Bitter Sweet

Sayda weighed in at 587 grams at 11:30 this morning. I was pretty psyched on doing some field hawking, so I called my good buddy Judah to see if he wanted to come along. He said he was down, so I went and drove around the neighborhood while I was waiting for him. The starlings where out and about, and it didn't take long before I found the perfect slip. There where two starlings in the grass next to the road, and another about to hop up there from the street. I drove up next to them, and Sayda was slicked down and watching....once we passed, their heads went back down. That's when I slipped Sayda. She came out the window pumping hard, and dropped like a rock onto the unsuspecting bird. Right at the last minute, the starling lifts its head and lets out a panicked scream. It was too late though, and the scream was cut short by Sayda's feet slamming it's head into the grass! Sayda's head immediately goes up, and I flip the car to the side of the road. I whip the door open, and fly out of the door..........and she is no where to be seen. Sayda hates being out in the open, so I half expected this to happen. I pull out the receiver, and start walking around looking under all of the bushes. Can't find her, so I do the walk about, and zero in her location. She was either in the back yard of the house she caught the starling in, or else one of the houses on either side. I knock on the first two houses, and no one answers. I hop back their and peek around really quickly, but don't do good enough of a job to find her. Knock on the third house, and I see a kid moving around inside. He doesn't answer the door though, so I don't go check out that yard. I wait her out for a good hour and a half...maybe two hours and the signal stays exacltly the same. FINALLY, she flies up into one of the trees, and I attempt to call her down. The problem is, I couldn't really get anywhere near the tree she was in, and the call was just too far for her. She had a nice crop, and she didn't really want to do anything. She ignores me, and eventually flies off. It takes me a good thirty minutes or so to track her down, and I eventually glimpse her in the top of a tree. She flies off before I can even get out of the car, and I loose sight of her. I'm messing with the telemetry, when I hear a bunch of blue jays making noise. I drive over to them, and I find Sayda sitting up in the tree. For the next three hours, I sit there and watch her. She won't come to the fist, ignores the lure, AND ignores the live lure. About an hour or so before dark, she decides she is done preening and chillen, and she flies off again. I track her down again, but can't get a visual on her. I drove around in the same circle probably three hundred times...I knew what street she was on, but I just couldn't find her. Once it got dark, my good buddy Jeff showed up, and he brought his marshal receiver. It has a pretty sweet function where you can set in on near, regular, and far (or something like that), and in no time at all, he had her zeroed into a specific tree. Lucky for me, it's a tree in a front yard, and we will be back there at 6:30 in the morning to try and get her down. It's supposed to get pretty chilly tonight I think, so hopefully she will be hungry enough...if not, then we may have to wait till after she casts. SOOOOO....we finally caught something. It ended up pretty bad, but we caught something. Guess I'm going to have to limit her to pigeons and crows from now on, but now that she has caught something, I'm hoping it got the wheels spinning. Going to stay away from areas with back yards for a good minute too :). What's interesting, is that she is at the exact same weight that she flew off the first time...like EXACTLY. Now that she is responsive, I have been pushing her weight back up until she messed around...I guess I found the top end of her weight! LOL. Still psyched about the way she reacted to the rabbits yesterday, so I may do a little more field hawking than I had planned on. Anyways, fingers crossed I get her back in the morning

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Update


Well, Sayda is doing well. I have been working her everyday, and we are easing back into car hawking. She is actively looking for starlings, and she is back to chasing hard. I have continued with the baggers, and it seems to be working well. Drove around FOREVER today, but couldn't find any slips. It was pretty weak, so I decided to take her to the field and see if we could find some rabbits. She did really well, followed a little bit, and I was able to kick up two rabbits for her. She didn't see the first one, and the second occured while she was on my fist. I tossed her at it, but she just wasn't ready. She flew up into a tree, and was looking around everywhere. I went down and started kicking around, and I managed a reflush after five minutes or so. She took off hauling, and chased it clear across the field. When I finally made it to her, she was up in a tree looking intently toward the ground. Good day, and I tossed six or seven starlings for her in there for her to chase. I let he catch two of them, and it really got her focus off of me, and into hunting. Both trades where good, and I was pleased with the session. I'm going to do the same thing tommorow (look for slips, then field hawk if I need to), and I will end the session on a drag bunny if we end up field hawkin. It was really good gettin out into the field! We got half of Sayda's tail imped the other day. It is blatantly obvious that her manueverability is much better now, Im hoping this will translate into "she barely nabbed it" instead of "she barely missed it!" Here are a few pics...they are harris hawk feathers.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Little update

It's been pretty crazy for the last few days around here. Sayda and I have continued on with the plan, and we have just been reinforcing her on starlings. I can tell her focus has been switching back to where it needs to be, and we are about to be out hunting again. I was wanting to get out today, but it seems to be snowing pretty darn hard right now, so the birds won't be out and about feeding. I had a little "user error" issue with my starling cadge, and all 7 of them escaped, and are now flying around in my attick. Little things are noisy as heck, and now I don't have a baggie for today's session. That's pretty weak......

Friday, February 5, 2010

Excellent

Sayda did great today! Decided to get out a little bit earlier than I usually do, and it DEF paid off. Ran up to Quick Trip for a little java to kick start the day (around 9:15 AM), and the birds where out in force! Being that Ryan went out and caught SIX today (heck ya!!!!!), I was thinking the falconry gods maybe smiling this morning.....so I grabbed the bird. Sayda and I jumped in the car, and off we went. I drove around for ten minutes, and probably passed up 15 slips...it was CRAZY....there where birds on EVERY single street! She was actively scanning for game way more intently than I have ever seen her, and she was bating at every bird that flew past. I FINALLY found my perfect slip, and I held her back until I had just passed the starling. That's when she slipped, and she blasted out of the window and hurtled herslef at the starling. She closed the gap in moments, and she shot her foot out JUST as the starling was leaving the ground. Unfortunately, all she managed to grab was the starlings tail, and she returned to the fist with two tail feathers in tow. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO close! In the minute it took to get back to the house, I probably passed five or six PERFECT slips! I stayed strong though, and ended the session on another bagger. I'm psyched! We are back on track, and we are moving forward. I'm pushing her up another five grams or so, and it will be the second day in a row that she is higher. If I'm going to see a behavioral change from higher weight, it should happen either tommorow or Sunday....so I will be keeping a close eye on her to make sure we don't end up in a telemetry chase. If she does well though, then I will keep her at the same weight, and fly her there for five or six days. If she is still cranking it out, I will push her up another five grams. Going to incriment it up until she starts screwing around.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another quick session

Goals are still the same......get her focus back on little black birds milling around outside of the window. Set up the first bagger, and we drover around for about five minutes. She was sleeked down in the car, and it seemed to me like she was actively looking for things again. Slipped her out the window, and she did great. She still doesn't like being out in the open on kills, but she is starting to get better. I let her drag this one up under a bush, and she seemed much more comfortable that way. Perfect trade off to the lure, and then she went in the GH for a reset. Got the lure and everything ready again, and we drove around another five minutes. The rain had picked up some by this point so I had to use the wind shield wipers a few time...something that normally sets her off into a bating fit. She did great today though, and didn't bate once! I was pleased, and after driving around, slipped her on the second one. She did great again, and this time we stayed out in the open. Once I got right up on her, she seemed to calm down quite a bit, and started plucking furiously. Let her eat a bit more on that one than the first, and then we had another perfect trade to the lure. Total, she got about 54 grams of food, and she is nice and fat on her pole perch right now at 623 grams. She understands the car hawking thing, and I feel pretty confident I can get her back every time now. I'm going to continue getting her confidence really high on baggers, and push her weight up little by little. Once we are back to the point where I think she is ready to be hunted again, I will bring her down a tiny bit from whatever higher weight we are at, and just see what happens. Many thanks go to my GORGEOUS wife, who helped out with the baggers today! You are a gem!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quick session

Today was pretty quick. Headed down to Jonathan's neighborhood with pigeons on the agenda. I found a nice group of about ten or so milling around on the ground, with another two about 20 yards away next to the road. Flipped a "B", and was about to start heading back toward them to slip on the two loners, when they SCATTERED! I have seen that desperate scramble before, and when I made it back to where they where, discovered a passage coops on the ground with a struggling pigeon. Sufficet to say, those pigeons where not coming back to the ground for a long time! Continued on, and found a group of three starlings pecking around right next to the road. Took Ryan's advice, and I sat there until I was sure that she saw them. Pulled up next to them, and she pulled up into a tree immediately. Called her back to the fist for no reward, and then I just bagged her. I'm not going to hunt her again until she is automatic out the window....if it takes ten baggies in a row, so be it. We WILL get her focus back on hunting, even if it kills me in the process.

Yesterday's session

Was not too darn shabby. After talking it over with Ryan, it was decided that I needed to do some really long calls, in order to asses her condition. Since we where going out to the field, I thought I would be a good day to reinforce the whole rabbit thing. Thawed out one of Dee Dee's rabbits, cut up all my tid bits grabbed four or five starlings for fun, and headed to the field. Little known fact (smile), I get pretty scatter brained when I get excited, and I ended up leaving the rabbit and my tid bits at the house. Pulled up to the field, and all I had where starlings and my lure. Well, dispatched a bird really quickly and got my bits ready to go, and then we headed into the field to see what we could see. I decided to go to the Lowes field, just b/c there are quite a few rabbits, and there are a few pretty open sections. I was hoping to get a slip or two for her, but they just weren't in their usual spots (makes sense...the rabbits had moved in all the other fields....not sure why I expected these rabbits not to.....), so I just started tossing birds. I'll start at the beginning though.....stuck her on the roof rack of the subi, and I called her about fifty yards to the fist. Her response was def less than desirable, and she was VERY distracted. Tossed out a starling (hoping to get her head back into the game), and she just watched it fly.....weak! Continued on through the field beating brush, and did another call to the fist (maybe 100 yards or so). Again, VERY hesitant. Tossed her back up into the tree, and then I started beating around the base of it. Tossed another starling, and this one flew pretty darn weak (it must have been one of my bait birds). Anyways, it flew up to the branch of the tree next to the one Sayda was in, but she AGAIN just watched it. Getting a little irritated by this point, but we continue on. Call her to the fist, and she flies in, and then checks up into the tree above me. Continue on, and then she blasts out of the tree heading back toward the tree she had just been in. I'm thinking we are loosing focus, but to my surprise, she bypasses her tree, and smashes into the one next to it....the one the starling had landed in! I see her parachute down to the ground, so I run over to find her under the tree holding the bird. She makes a few hops till she is right at the base of the tree, and I gave her a moment to start plucking. Once she did, I made my way in there and offered her a tid bit. She dragged the starling right to me, took the tid bit, and then scooted between my legs and started going CRAZY on the starling. I liked this, b/c it seemed to me like she felt safe with me "protecting" her. Trade off to the lure was flawless (at least I did ONE thing right with this bird!), and then I hopped her to the fist for a leg. Over all....not too bad. Even though I wasn't "directly" related to the kill (in that I flushed, she stooped, and connected), she did fly away from me and grab it, which is good. I have been workin on getting her focus away from me, so we shall count this as a good session.