Sunday, March 1, 2009

Why Harris' Hawks?

Some people like English Pointers, some Deutch Drathaars, spaniels, dachshunds, beagles, terriers. They are all hunting dogs, and each one has their place. I'm not going to take sides in the debate over which dogs are better at pointing, flushing, retrieving. Honestly, I don't know enough about them, but I do know, that like hawks, some dogs are specialists, while others are more versatile.

Does a pointing lab point as as well as an English pointer, most people would say no. Does a weimeraner retrieve as well as a golden? Probably not, though they can and will retrieve. A Shitz-zu will warm your lap better than a rottweiler (though the rottie will certainly try).

Hawks are the same. People will debate this, some will say I'm wrong for this reason or that, but every raptor - be it hawk, falcon, or accipitor - has its strengths.

falcons, of course, excel at speed from the air. Their focus tends to be on birds. Do some people hunt rabbits in the desert with falcons, sure they do, but they tend to be the minority. big falcons hunt big birds, little falcons - little birds.

Hawks, your red tail, ferrengus, European buzzard, they hunt fur. Show them a squirrel or rabbit and the chase is on. There are people who hunt duck, or geese, with them - but they are the minority. These birds are bigger,more lumbering. They can crash through briars, and rip a squirrel from the side of the tree.

Then there are your accipiters. They can't be beat in the initial mad dash at prey. Some take birds, others take rabbit, but their strength is their speed.

But why Harris', why a parabuteo? I have flown Red tails, I have some experience with falcons, but harris' can do it all. They are truly a versatile bird who can do almost everything with a calm accepting manner.

My birds have taken prey as big as a goose, and as small as a mouse. They tackle marsh rabbits with ease, and gang up on even the biggest squirrel.

Gonzo will take a crow out of the car window as easily as he takes a sparrow or starling.

People hunt everything with their Harris hawks, pheasant, quail, rabbits, jacks, prairie dogs, cotton rats, ducks, geese, squirrel.

You can hunt them from trees, your fist, T-pole, even a soar.

But most importantly - they readily hunt together. Unlike other hawks, they coordinate. When yo hunt them together they seem to understand what the other is doing, they gang up and can be twice as deadly. If you get three or four together, the fun is amazing. Why harris' hawks. They do it all, and they do it easily. I don't fight with my hawks and they come when I call their names. They follow close, they hunt with eachother, and they hunt with me. They are the most versatile of birds.


Isaac said...

You inspired a post:

Doug said...

Glad to be of service. I enjoyed reading it.