Saturday, December 5, 2009

Urban Falconry

Meet Delta he is a tiercel red tail hawk. He was trapped a couple of weeks ago and has been giving me hell ever since. This guy changed the game on me, I tried everything in my power to turning this little fella around and he still would not break. After two weeks and no progress I was faced with a decision to let my pride go and release him back into the wild. Sometimes the match between falconer and bird of prey doesnt mix. He forced me to pull out all of the stops. I had to dig deep into my bag of tricks to get this stubborn guy to respond. It was only a few days ago when I took another deep sigh and entered the dark room with my falconers glove and miners flashlight fitted on my forehead. I opened up the Giant Hood and he stared right at me. The process of breaking a falconry bird is delicate, because these are the moments in which trust is built and when dealing with wild birds of prey trust is all you have. One mistake can turn a good hunting hawk into Satan's spawn. Its important to move slow with the progress but it is also important to stimulate the hawk as much as possible in order to break his will. This may sound cruel to some but this is the process that Hawks and other Birds of Prey used for falconry must go through, because the end result is a hunting partner that has a mutual trust and is eager to hunt with you. Weight Control is the key to successful falconry. Every falconer knows that it is important to drop the weight to a point where the Hawk is responsive. In the past this has only taken from day 1 to day 3. However, with Delta it took 2 weeks. And so exhausted and frustrated I bend down looking into his Giant hood thinking that this is going to be another uneventful day and as I reach into grab him he looks at my glove, I push it up under his breast and he steps up. I think, hmmmmm, he seems quite calm today. I weigh him and he is 889 grams. I think to myself that this can not be good because that is very low. I trapped him at 1020 grams. The golden rule is to drop approx 10% of their body weight. With delta he had already exceeded that and showed no sign of breaking. But once again I would try and honestly this was the last time. Because I would rather have him flying free in the wild than starving to death, weak and nimble with me. So I would try one more time and I pulled the dead mouse out layed it on my glove in between his talons and he looked at me tilted his head and started tearing at the mouse. I wanted to jump up and shout "YES!!!!"" but I maintained my composure so that he would feel comfortable. I wanted him to know that eating from my fist is the best thing happening and he relished every bit of it. So there he was, I named him Delta after Special Force Operators who go through S.E.R.E School to endure the riggers of P.O.Ws and stay mentally tough to not break. That is the spirit of my new hawk. He is bold and although he finally broke, he pushed me to the limit of my training abilities can't wait to see with his angry ass will do on some squirrels and rabbits this hunting season.
Also in the News my buddy Jim trapped himself a "747" this girl was Big. I think she ate all her siblings and when they were all gone she probably ate her mom and dad. She is a beast. Jim trapped her today with that fancy mouse I bought from the pet store. I hear Jim has some females waiting back at the house for all of the good work he has done. But nonetheless, she is a beautiful bird and will be the envy for all falconers who aspire to hunt with a Dragon lady.
Jim Is going to have his hands full the next couple of weeks. I have to check on him regulary to make sure that girl doesn't eat him. Jim told me she wieghed in at 1462 grams. Considering Delta was 889 this girl is almost twice the size. WOW!!