Thursday, September 9, 2010
Weight management is the key to successfully hunting with any raptor. Some people like the challenge in maintaining a more difficult to manage bird. I don't, as a general rule.
I want my falconry to be fun and hassle free.
For me, harris hawks fit the bill.
Both my birds, at weight, are easy to get along with and biddable. They come to the whistle, every time - but they also come to the call of their name. They roam ahead early in the hunt, and leapfrog over one another as they check out new terrain.
One quests forward, while the other hangs back and watches for movement. They know the game, and they are experts at playing it.
Over the last month I have been slowly cutting the amount of food that they receive by about a quarter. It takes about two mice a day for the birds to maintain their wight as the nights begin to cool (hawks loose more weight in lower temperatures). So I feed them two mice one day, one the next, and they slowly drop the weight.
Tess is about there.
At 940 grams, she would go and hunt right now. By the end of last season, she was hunting around 960 and performing impeccably. But squirrel season still doesn't open for about a month, so if I am going to hunt, I'll be hunting birds.
Most likely out the car window.
To do that, I need her just a little bit lower. She should be ready early next week.
It's time to start clearing the calender.