Friday, January 9, 2009

Rabbits in the marsh and other available prey

It has been a cold, windy, rainy week and I haven't gotten the hawks out hunting at all. The weather this weekend is supposed to be perfect, and their weights should be right on as well.

For the record:
Tess flies at 850 grams (plus or minus)
Gonzo flies at 650 grams.

Neither bird is a monster, but for the quarry we have here in NC, they can handle whatever I throw at them. Usually that's squirrels. Last season, I flew Gonzo mainly at rabbits, and we did fair on marsh rabbits ( .

We don't have large populations in hawkable areas, but we do have them. Generally, I'll put between 2-6 in the bag in any given year without actually targeting them. I find the squirrel hunts much more exciting, and I can't keep my birds off of them. even when we avoided squirrels in favor of rabbits, the birds would seek the little grays out along the edges of the woods. finally, I gave in and decided to add a female to the mix, so that Gonzo's toes would stand a chance.

watching the two birds hunt together has been a treat this year, and more than once I have found myself laughing out loud as they repeatedly dive after a squirrel that has bailed from its nest. Tess has even figured out what nests are and will tear them apart if she believes that there may be squirrels in the nests creamy center.

Unfortunately, good squirrel pictures are hard to take, as the predator and prey are continually moving. I'll see what I can do this weekend.

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