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An online falconry journal (mostly)

Happiness is a mantling hawk

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Kestrels bite!
An online falconry journal



February 6th, 2017

122g--Excellent response

Kestrels bite!
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January 15th, 2017

Jan 13: Had her flying across my office, about 8-10' distances with almost no hesitation at 125g.

Jan 14: Had her flying across "the man loft" (upstairs bedroom/office), about 8-10', with sometimes good response and sometimes hesitation to come or come directly (as there were perches along the way). 124g. Perches and low ceiling might have made a big difference?

January 10th, 2017

*click?* 127g

Kestrels bite!

Seems that Millie might have finally had that *click* moment where she associated jumping to the hand to get fed. She even did so once when there was no visible food. After polishing off her mouse, full, she flew into the closet to try and perch on the clothes rack there to spend the night. Nope. Don't need bird poop all over my good clothes! She seems to be getting calmer, too.

I've never worked at such a slow pace with a bird before. This is all me being busy, but this is what I'd planned on happening. We'll see how this slow approach pans out over time.

Still not vocalizing, so that's a giant plus.

December 29th, 2016


Kestrels bite!
We now have bird sleeping in my presence while the lights are on, but only if I'm not moving. Granted, I think she was spent from having a busy day as a desk ornament at the office while I worked, but I'm trying to get her more socialized as opposed to stuck in the Man Loft at home for 9-10 hours with no one there (and then me maybe spending 30-60 minutes with her). Good steps, though.

December 27th, 2016

Work insanity died down (temporarily), transitioned immediately into the family vacation to Williamsburg for a week, and we got back home on the night of the 24th. Life has been crazy busy. 25th and 26th? I did jack and squat. Videogames (Witcher 3, which has better story/characters than Skyrim but I'm less thrilled about the combat nerfing and lack of a stealth/range option--but it's interesting playing outside my usual class/type). Reading (Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" in preparation for a post-apocalyptic literature course I teach in the spring, Colbert's "America Again" which is prohpetic in places, and Sedaris's "Holiday on Ice" of which the elf job story is the best IMO).

Oh, and I've got Millie doing hesitant hops (of about 6") to the fist. Normally I'd have a bird doing this in 2-4 days, but I got a kestrel acknowledging my time constraints during the academic year, and I don't feel guilty for doing little more with her than tossing her a mouse each day and weighing her from time to time. "Working with her" has largely been me, on a futon couch/bed, grading papers or writing reports or sleeping, with her about 4-5' away and in plain sight. Irregularly, as sometimes I don't want an overhead light on all night long and I like to "bed surf" from location to location in the house anyway. So, if you're reading this and you're an apprentice falconer, don't do anything I'm doing; your sponsor will likely drop you. :) But hopefully there's a method to my madness.

That and I got a DVD on raptor exercise/conditioning, so hopefully we'll move on to that phase soon. I'd like to do jump-ups with Millie to build breast/flight muscles and reinforce training.

December 13th, 2016

(no subject)

Kestrels bite!
Not too much to report as I haven't really worked with the bird any other than sometimes sleeping in the same room as her at a distance of about 4'. She's getting used to people being around her, but not /near/ her. Still, that's progress. And not too bad considering how much work has been stomping my butt during finals week and, after finals week, how I've been swallowed by an important administrative project. Oh, hey, and there's that research project data I now need to manually enter at some point. And that other thing that....

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.
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