Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Andrew let his red tail Ate' (rhymes with Latte') go the other day. He was a good sized male (tiercel) bird that hunted around 36 oz. His first season he was killer on squirrels, then this season his motivation seemed to be lagging a bit.
Andrew fiddled with his weight, but Ate' just hasn't seemed like he has been interested in the game this year. So, after two years, he's fed him up and let him go.
Many falconers in NC will fly their birds for just a few years and then return them back to the wild. I know that I've done it a bunch of times. That is one of the cool things about falconry, you can take a wild bird and borrow it for a few seasons. The bird gets a chance to learn how to hunt in an environment where it isn't going to die if it misses its next meal (avoiding that 75% mortality rate in the first year statistic), and you gt to participate in its life for a few short years. Then you can release a breeding age bird back into its population. No harm, no foul.
Both of you are better off for it. Yeah, its cool.
We'll be out looking for a new bird for Andrew this coming fall. I'm sure I'll be posting pictures. It looks like it may end up being a busy trapping season.