I was in a funk. Yes, it is true. Losing Gonzo was the single biggest loss of my falconry career. I got angry and sad, then determined. I went out looking for new birds. I was going to get Tess a possible mate.
No, she has never shown much interest in mating, I'll get two.
I don't have that kind of money.
Then I hear that for breeding, you should really just keep the birds together.
So then - what do I fly??
Will I fly Tess solo? I have before.
... and I caved.
I acquired a mature male, and a female breeder from up north. In the process, I picked up another juvi male to fly with Tess.
Three birds over the course of a summer - very cool.
I reworked my weathering areas to be sure to minimize racoon impact, I covered all my "natural" perches in long leaf astroturf.
And my new female laid her first egg on the way home in the giant hood. Crap. crap. crap
I didn't have an appropriate incubator yet, but I did have my cheap styrofoam chicken hatcher. It would have to do. I didn't know anything.
Was the egg fertile? It was laid in the hood on the drive home from Pennsylvania, what are the chances it would hatch after rolling around on the car ride home.
The female was in a chamber full of its own offspring? Would the parents have been breeding? What are the chances it would hatch? Shoot - it's the middle of summer, why is she laying now?.,,
I put the egg in the incubator with little hope. I hand turned it multiple times a day. Hoping - not hoping - scared to hope.
I tried to put a chicken egg out with the momma - to see if she would set. She was in a new environment, and not interested.
The egg hatched.
This was last fall.
The chick seemed happy and healthy - I hand fed it for the first few months. I did not know at the time that she wasn't right. I fostered her out to Jimmy in Georgia. I still can't thank him enough for all he did for my first "baby".
Soon after returning too me she died. Not being sure what happened, I had a necropsy done. She hadn't grown right. Her spine was curved and her hips were wrong. Her lungs were underdeveloped, and her brain smaller than expected.
It could be traced back to poor incubation.
My year continued to suck.
I trained my new male to hunt. He flew at the same weight a Gonzo, 650 (plus or minus). First on his own, then with Tess. His name is Boomer.
I compared hime to Gonzo ( I shouldn't have, not yet)
It was a rebuilding year. I was shorter on time, and went away for two weeks in the middle of the season. It was less than stellar. Game was caught and flights were interesting. We all learned a lot.
It was a rebuilding year. This year should be interesting.
The newest egg hatched in June. A female, it stormed for weeks and weeks after she was born.
So my daughter named her Rain. She is 17 weeks and ready to start training. Boomer is slowly starting to drop weight. Trapping season is just around the corner and there is so much to do. and everything is hitting at once.
I'll try and keep my writing caught up.