Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our Friendship is nearing its end

As spring creeps upon us, I can't help but to think about the relationship Taka and I have shared over the past several months. From Oct 14th of 2008 until now, Taka and I have shared a common purpose in life and that is to pursue game. She had no idea that when she was born and kicked out of her nest that she would eventually have a human counterpart as her hunting partner. I did not know that it would be her that I would trap on that Oct mid morning.

I remember it so vividly. I was so upset because I traveled so far, everyday looking for a hawk. When I saw one perched about on a power line or tree I would throw my trap and sometimes I would trap a hawk and other times I wouldn't. All the hawks I trapped last year were adult. trapping has one major downfall and that is you don't know what you have until it's trapped most of the time and the regulations state that you can only take an immature redtail and that means one with a barred tail.

But back to that morning, I remember it was cold and I decided to go to the gym and work out. For some reason i got really bored and decided to head home. But instead of heading home I decided to look one more time in a spot that I thought I saw an immature bird flying from canopy to canopy trying to evade the resident nesting pair of redtails that controlled the area. upon driving to this area I was disappointed because from a distance I could see the nesting pair of redtails soaring over there hunting grounds. I remember letting out a big sigh and then a sudden gasp, Because I saw what appeared to be the dark outline of a large bird perched on a power line. "Could it be?" I thought. As I drove toward the power line I saw that it indeed was a redtail and immediately I threw my trap out the window as passed by the Redtail; in an instant I could see the powerful bird swoop down in my rear view mirror toward the trap. I stopped my car and jumped out with my blanket and saw that the Redtail was trapped. As I got close I saw that the tail was barred "YES, an IMMATURE!" I said to myself and there it was, thats when Taka and I met. I could only imagine what was going on through her mind. But nonetheless, I taped her up and socked her and drove her home.

In the beginning I thought her training was going slow. But she surprised me, because from the time I trapped her which was on Oct 14th, I was free flying her approx 10 days later. She took to training like it was something she was born to do. From before I ever knew the term Falconry and what it meant I always had a fascination with using wild animals as tools rather than using them as pets. The relationship between a man and his hawk, is much different than that of his dog. This relationship is strictly business, because my hawk only lives for one thing and thats to kill and when she does it well, she lives for the spectacular chase and challenge of killing multiple heads of game while afield.
So as the days get near I can't help but to think about the unique bond of primitive comparisons that I have shared with my feathered friend. As with everything in life there are different roads that we must all take to get to our final destination. Taka will soon be soaring over mountainous canopies in search of her first mate. I hope she doesn't try to eat him. But whatever may come she will contribute something stronger back to the gene pool that will only be unique to her blood line and although I am saddened by the thought of releasing her back into the wild, I feel a great sense of responsibility and joy by giving nature back one of her children in a more healthy and mentally acute state than when I received her.

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