We've been waiting patiently for our master falconer's hawk to get her flight feathers and then E13 will get to watch him work with his bird and get to know what its like to be around them and care for them. He's also started studying for the falconry exam.
In the meantime, there are some other apprentices ready to trap their hawks and we were invited along! One is waiting on his federal license so he's not quite ready, but another was ready to trap a hawk and had her trapping permit in hand. She had previously worked with a red tail and was working with a kestrel for the past year and it took off on her during the height of migration season. She needed a new bird. We set off on an adventure Monday morning to follow and learn. It was an amazing experience!
|There were a lot of red tails soaring above the trees- we got out to take a look. Of course, we were armed with binoculars, though we could use a better pair.|
|We followed them around and it was down this farm lane that they were finally able to successfully trap a red tail. The others kept flying away when they'd spot one and jump out to lay down the trap.|
|The state game farm raises pheasants for hunting- lots and lots of pheasants!|
|Hawk trapping does require patience. This apprentice falconer held out and tried one more time. She reached success after 3 hours!|
|We were surprised to see the falconer emerge with the bird being held like a baby. They stay very calm for several hours after being caught.|
|A view from outside the arboretum not far from our trapping site. It was such a lovely day I couldn't resist!|
Here are a few things we learned while out with the falconers on Monday morning: (we counted over 20 things, but we won't make you read them all)
- Hawks can get into it with squirrels. If you look at the feet of a hawk and they are scarred and messy, then the bird is a squirreler and some falconers look for this in a bird.
- Squirrels can bite a hawk so hard that they sever tendons, cause infection, and tear muscle in a hawk's feet.
- If you accidentally get a turkey vulture in your trap, they will spit vile green yuck on you!
- You can only trap juvenile hawks.
- Adult hawks are called haggards.
- This hawk was hatched in April or May of this year and is now on it's own.