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An online falconry journal (mostly)

Happiness is a mantling hawk

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Kestrels bite!
An online falconry journal



January 20th, 2013

New bird. Not dead.

Kestrels bite!
Oh, hey. This journal exists. And I have a bird again, so I should post crap here.

Trapped a female American kestrel really late in the season and have had it now for about a week. No clue if it's a haggard or a passage, as kestrels can be vexing that way. (After spending some time with her, I'm thinking haggard.) Trap weight was 130g, empty crop. Must be a northern migrant at that weight! Rule of thumb is that response weight is often at 10% below trap weight, and she does respond--albiet with great hesitation, at about 117g. Had her down to 112g today and she wouldn't go after a mouse in the bathtub (though she expressed interest), so we've clearly got more work to do.

I ordered a box of 50 frozen quail shipped 3-day UPS last week. It got delayed three times due to bad weather, UPS doesn't deliver Saturdays or Sundays. Monday is a holiday. That'll be 8 days, no refrigeration. Those quail are going to be very juicy, pungent, and hot from decomposition--they're shipped in plastic bags. Hopefully insurance will cover it. Otherwise I'll be out $250 and re-ordering. (Of course, part of that $250 was insurance, so I have to assume that it's covered or I wouldn't have been charged an insurance fee to begin with.)

Oh, and I made up a series of bad names until shutterbugjones overruled me and declared her name to be "Ishtar." Yes. After the movie/goddess.

Made some interesting new portable perches using stainless steel dog bowls, aluminum metal strips (bent into U shapes), metal screws (to fasten the U-bent metal to the inverted dog bowl, cement (to fill the dog bowl and weigh it down), and truck bed liner spray (to prevent the base from skidding. Portable perches for under $20! Can't beat that with a stick!

October 30th, 2012


Kestrels bite!
Nothing bird-related to report other than I put in for--and received--a permit to trap. I might be forgoing a bird this year due to finances and time constraints/demands.

In other news, shutterbugjones and I got hitched this past Saturday. :)

July 24th, 2012

Gonzo released.

Kestrels bite!

I'm birdless now. (Unless you want to count five chickens.) I'm not planning on flying a bird this upcoming season, so I can focus on job/marriage/apprentices, so don't expect very many posts!

May 28th, 2012


Kestrels bite!
shutterbugjones said "yes!"


April 21st, 2012


Kestrels bite!
shutterbugjones and I purchased 6 baby chickens last weekend. We lost one, but that's apparently not very unusual with baby chickens that are only 1-3 days old. The remaining chickens all seem to be active and healthy--and ridiculously cute. I started catching bugs for them and hand feeding these treats. There's one chicken who tears across the box to get the bug. Then, cheeping excitedly and loudly, it tries to hide in a corner to eat the bug. But the loud, excited cheeping alerts all the other chickens that it has something, so they all mob the one to try and get what it has in its mouth. Chaos ensues.

Chickens: Funny but not so smart.

March 15th, 2012

I think this might be the first season there were no "misc" kills, which means--hurray!--no snakes!

It was also the 2nd worst season I've ever had with a red-tail--after my 1st season with my 1st bird, Mortimer. Although I can't fault Gonzo one bit. She's a good game hawk, but the combination of my new job with a heavy work load and not having located good fields to hunt hindered us both--and that's all my fault. Still, I had a blast with her the times we did get out.

After the season ended on Feb 29, Gonzo has only had to do one thing: endure being presented two three separate classes of 1st graders. Hopefully there'll be one or three fewer boys inclined to shoot a hawk now that they've gotten to see one, learn about them, and touch one.

I installed a food chute so SBJ's dad could easily feed Gonzo while we were off on a cruise. Gonzo seems to have figured the game out quickly and is now ready to pounce on anything coming out of the tube.

I'd emptied her bathpan on Tuesday to let it dry out and kill the algae. Wed afternoon I came home to find her sitting in the empty bath. (Cute!) She soaked herself after I refilled it.

Today I noticed she'd dropped a contour feather. That might explain the bathing: itching from the moult starting. Let's hope for a good, fast, clean molt so I can turn her loose in July.

Finally, I think I've been seeing the fluffy white head of at least one great horned owl chick in the tree cavity on campus. Like 90% certainty. Spring is in the air!

February 19th, 2012

18 squirrels, 1 rabbit

Kestrels bite!
Gonzo gets a pregnant squirrel :(Collapse )

Found a great horned owl nest site.Collapse )

Might have found another nest of some sort on the hunting club's property. Going to have to get the spotting scope out, though.

January 3rd, 2012

Bam, bam, bam! 3 squirrels in one day.Collapse )
Supposed to get down to 11F tonight. Much colder, and if there's wind chill as well, and I'd be tempted to bring Gonzo inside for the night.

December 5th, 2011

Took Gonzo out yesterday to the hunting and fishing club's property, where she took a squirrel with great form while some guy was zeroing in his hunting rifle on the back range. The noise from the gunshots only seemed to bother her once, then she ignored it completely. (There's gunshot going off all the time in the neighborhood because we're so close to the gun range, but I was a little worried about how much louder the sound would be on the gun range property.) Gonzo missed the squirrel on the first pass, took a second shot at the squirrel as it went down the tree trunk and missed, took a third shot as it crossed the ground and missed, watched it run off, got back up into a tree, waited for it to go up another tree, got to a higher perch, then made a fast-glide attack, missed, and turned to nail it on the ground when it made another break for it. Traded her off and we tried for a double (as she'd scored in under 15 minute of hunting). Missed a shot at a rabbit and another squirrel, but Gonzo was definitely gamey.

She behaved very well, too. I think a lot of the problems we were having before (not coming when called, free-ranging, not cooperating) were largely due to me not having the time to get out and hunt with her.
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