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An online falconry journal (mostly)

Happiness is a mantling hawk

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Kestrels bite!
An online falconry journal



December 8th, 2016

New bird!

Kestrels bite!
Trapped a female American kestrel a little over a week ago. Named it "Millenium." (Millenium, the falcon. Insert Star Wars reference here.) Naked trap weight: 140g, a big girl! Had 3 days to work with Millie before I went to a conference and my better half got to tend to her for 5 days. Got Millie to jump to the glove last night at 130g (not naked), Not too bad for a bird that really hasn't been worked with much at all due to end-of-the-semester workload. But I'm not looking to fly her anytime soon. This is mostly a spring-fall bird to fly at bugs and just let me keep a digit dipped in the falconry pool.

November 14th, 2016

Trapping: fun but fruitless.

Kestrels bite!
My first bal-chatri trap, I think I tied the drag weight too close to the trap and made the hole that the fishing line noose slide through too big, as the nooses spring open if there's not a continuous pull. Had two birds on the trap so far--a kestrel and a red-tail--and it didn't snag either. So yesterday I built a second trap with tighter noose holes. Went out in the AM and PM today, but couldn't get anything to come down to the trap. Trapping in the mountains--and on the opposite side of the mountain than the migratory route--is way more difficult than trapping just across the Mississippi River in Arkansas, which as tons of fields with prominent perches by the road.

I'll get one eventually; I'd just prefer sooner rather than later.

November 2nd, 2016

Oh, hey. I have a LJ account. Theoretically about falconry foo. Hmm.

Well, I took a three-year vacation from it when work went insane, they laid off about 20% of the professors, and then things went uglier--and I got a "promotion" of sorts that demanded more of my time and I wasn't terribly keen on but it felt like a good idea to take when it was offered because of job security. Fun times!

But this fall, I've decided to say "Eff it!" and get a bird. I'm thinking a kestrel as I won't really have much time to fly it during the school year, but they're a hoot to fly on grasshoppers in the summer when I don't have teaching obligations to deal with. We'll see how this all works out.

Oh. And. Uh. Hi there.

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.
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