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Falconry Season for 2013 Comes to an End

March 18th, 2013

The End of The Fourth Falconry Season

The end of the falconry season is always a bittersweet realization with Red-Tail Hawks. I’ve learned to enjoy the Winter Hunting in the cool days with a light coat of snow. Watching the flight of the Red-Tail through the dusky-brown branches brings out the enjoyment each time I’m a witness. Surely, there is no joy hunting in the freezing cold with the wind blowing a 5 degree wind-chill. Even *I* don’t hunt that well in the cold. The winter season provides a beautiful backdrop to some of the most challenging trials of life and it is with great appreciation that I am thankful to share this experience with my Red-Tail Hawk, Cedar, in the wintry landscape that the winter provides. So it is with a bittersweet feeling that we conclude another hunting season in the land called “Michigan.”

There are some wonderful things to look forward to: the warming weather, the wonder of the moult, and the new life that spring brings with it each turn of the year. I enjoy those cool, spring morning walks through the forest with the opportunity to watch the forest for the trees. The green carpet of life comes to surface of the forest floor and blooms with the warmth that spring provides. I enjoy these walks without the focus on the Hawk and hunting for falconry to take the time to appreciate the wonder of the change of seasons. Watching the emergence of life during the warming days of spring is a wonder to behold, but only in the Pure Michigan manner that our climate can provide. Michigan is privelidged to have a defined season for spring where the plants and the animals awaken once again from the cold blanket that winter provided.

As with most things in life, there is something to be said for moderation, and now with the conclusion of this hunting season, it is time to turn my attention to the yard, house maintenance, and other fun family activities. Even more so, I am extremely curious about how Cedar will moult her feathers and turn herself into a wondrous, beautiful Adult Red-Tailed Hawk that I know she will be. Good Hunting, enjoy the moult, have fun in the summer, and appreciate each season for what it is. By the end of the summer, we’ll all be anxious to get back out into the field for the falconry experience with our Red-Tails once again.



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Holiday Hunting 2012

January 6th, 2013

Holiday Hunting 2012

This past week I had the opportunity to take a photographer hunting along with Cedar and I.  It was a great afternoon for it.  The sunlight was good and the sky was clear, so it made a great day for photography out in the fresh snowfall from the previous night.  Cedar was at the top of her game for the day, and was a successful hunter.  The pictures Archie took are great and we had a good time out in the woods.

*Photos used with permission from Archie Neil Jr. Photography.



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Early October Hunting with Cedar

October 15th, 2012

Early October Hunting with Cedar

The past week has afforded several more hunting / training opportunities for Cedar. We’ve been able to get out to the field each day this week with the nice fall weather. Truthfully, the cooler weather, the better, as it is easy to work up a sweat hacking through the thick undergrowth. The early season for hunting in October is challenging with the leaves still on the trees and shrubbery still thick and standing. The dense undergrowth makes it difficult to walk through due to the green branches that have not dried out yet from the cold. These small thickets and densely covered areas are the key places where it is most likely to find game. Rabbits love to hide in the thick briar patches where there is food AND cover.

It will take another three weeks or so for the leaves to fall completely to the ground in Lower Michigan. The leaves are already about half way done in the upper part of Michigan. The annual bird hunt weekend is scheduled appropriately in order to fall on a weekend at the tail end of leaves falling off the trees. This makes it much better for having good shots at grouse.

These hunting excursions have been conducted in order to continue working on Cedar’s hunting ability and to get her out to fly each day. We continue to work on her hunting and falconry skills with the routine. Each activity should build on the next, and as much as possible, it’s the falconer’s job to provide that. In the case of actually finding game in the field, this is a little more luck than skill, unfortunately. Cedar has been extremely well behaved in the field, flying ahead to perches and moving along when called. I’m particularly impressed with her ability to pick higher perches and move up when appropriate. So far, she has the great beginnings to making a great falconry hawk. Stay tuned for more adventures.

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