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Red-Tail Feathers

July 23rd, 2014

Red-Tail Feathers

two red-tail tail feathers from Cedar

Two red-tail tail feathers from Cedar

Cedar is spending her second summer as my Hunting Partner and is furiously molting her feathers.  This fall will make her a 2x PFRT (Two-time inter-mewed passage female Red-Tailed Hawk).  As a falconer, this is a *first* moment for moulting.  These feathers are special for a few reasons.  They are adult Red-Tailed feathers that a falconer can ONLY get after the first complete moult.  As Cedar is my third Red-Tailed hawk, she is the first bird I’ve kept for more than two hunting seasons. Most falconers have plenty of Red-Tail feathers that are from their immature hawks that moulted during their first summer.  At this point, falconers have a decision to make about continuing the partnership for another year. Feathers that are moulted this summer can be saved and used in the event that breakage occurs and are handy to keep around for imping.

I’ll post a follow up article in September after Cedar completes her second moult.

-Cheers!

Raptor Biology ,

August Moult

August 8th, 2013

August Moult

Cedar’s moult is progressing nicely this summer as the warm months continue to bless us with great summer weather.  Cedar is doing very well, enjoying her mews and attention that she gets when we are out working in the yard.  I got this picture the other day to show off her “Big-Girl” feathers.

Raptor Biology ,

June Moult Update

June 24th, 2013

June Moult Update for Cedar

Summer is usually the quiet season for Red-Tailed hawks in Falconry.  The main focus during the warm season is to stay fat and happy, and to grow new feathers for the fall.  This is especially important for young juvenile Red-Tailed Hawks that are gaining their namesake feathers for the first time.  Keeping a hawk well fed through the summer months ensures that the feathers grow full and healthy in preparation for the next hunting season.  Cedar continues to enjoy her time out on the perch and has a couple of red-tail feathers just starting to come in.  More updates as the summer months progress.

 

Raptor Biology ,

Avian Sexing

October 10th, 2011

Avian Sexing

Most people think it should be pretty easy to determine the sex of your raptor.  The truth is that it really isn’t easy.  Most birds are dimorphic, meaning that they have two forms; a male form and a female form.  Most male birds have ‘pretty’ feathers to attract a  mate, and the females have a more drab appearance.  In Raptors, size is usually the significant tell-tale factor, but it isn’t always foolproof and the males and females are not colored differently.  The exception to this rule being the American Kestrel, which does have different coloration in the male and females of the species. Red-Tailed hawks are not dimorphic and the size difference is difficult to measure accurately enough to determine the sex of the bird.

So, with a Red-Tailed hawk, identifying the sex of the bird isn’t as easy as ‘lifting up the skirt’ to check, as  you might in other animals. The best way to find the sex of your bird is to send in a few feathers for DNA Testing.  If you are interested, check out  avianbiotech.com .  For very low cost, you can send in a few feathers for DNA Testing to know the sex of your raptor with confidence.

* Symbol borrowed from psdgraphics.com; used under GPL Free License grants.

Raptor Biology

USFWS Feather Atlas

September 2nd, 2011

USFWS Feather Atlas

Click here -> USFWS Feather Atlas.  This is a great resource for feather research and matching feathers to birds.

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