Saturday, May 7, 2011


I took a break.

I haven't been reading blogs - or posting on my own. In the meantime, Spring has truly sprung here in eastern NC.

I kept waiting to post, hoping that I would have big news from the breeding chambers of the harris hawks.


We had the nest all made up for the birds, carefully intertwining vines and branches. I padded it well with pine needles in the bottom to keep any eggs from cracking. Then I watched, and waited.

Gonzo would go and move a stick here or there. Tess would take all of her food up to the ledge to eat at the nest.

The birds would perch shoulder to shoulder.

Gonzo's foot seemed to be healing well. even though it was partially immobilized, he would use both feet for perching and seemed very comfortable. I changed all the perching surfaces to long leaf astroturf to protect Gonzo's feet.

No eggs, no eggs, no eggs.

Then they tore the nest apart. Could be a good thing. They are acknowledging that it is there. I replaced the pine needles and made sure that there were plenty of sticks in the cage for building.

And I waited.

They messed around with it, bringing sticks in and removing more of the "bedding" material. Tess would settle into it while she tore at her breakfast.

But still, nothing.

I had to run to Raleigh for a teacher "thing" this last week, so I called up Arnaud to see if we could change Gonzo's bandages on his toe. The scheduling was perfect.

When we got the bandages off of the foot, the toe had healed perfectly! Well done Arnaud. The toe was straight and yellow. You could hardly even see where it hadn't been working.

Unfortunately, Gonzo was dead.

He had died sometime that day in his box. The necropsy (still waiting for some tests) showed that Gonzo had some signs consistent with West Nile Virus - but we're still unsure of the cause of death.


No babies this year. I am in the market for a new male harris hawk. I was hoping to pick one up that was of breeding age, but I may end up getting a young bird.

And Tess is all alone:(

If you hear of any birds for sale (preferably on the East coast) let me know.

I'll keep you posted.


Phoenix Fire Falconry said...

So sorry to hear of your loss! I hope you find a partner for her, if not for breeding (for awhile) at least for hunting next season.

Good Luck!

Jolanta Jeanneney said...

I am so sorry to hear this bad news. What a loss.

Albert A Rasch said...

What a shame. A real shame.

I suppose it will not be easy to find a male Harris, it's not like they're common avian commodities.

The question is whether you can have Tess checked for WNV.

Keep us posted.

Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
Extreme Wild Boar Hunting in Florida!

Isaac said...

Sorry to hear that Doug. I never know what to say in these situations.

GardenGoddess said...

Oh that so sucks Doug! Forget the circle of just stinks to lose someting you cared so much about. yuck.

steveo_uk said...

I'm so sorry to hear that doug, This so sucks on so many different levels !

Doug said...

I never know what to say either, Isaac. Gonzo was my first harris and (as far as I can tell) a raging success. It's going to be hard to replace him.

Thank you all for your thoughts - it sucks, any way you look at it, but that's the thing with falconry, birds will come and go. This one it tough though.

Silver lining is that there will be a new team in the field next year - oh the possibilities.

Dan said...

Dang! That sucks brother.......

Paula said...

I haven't checked your blog for some time and was saddened to read about Gonzo this morning. Deeply sorry for your loss.