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Thanksgiving Falconry

December 1st, 2014

Thanksgiving Falconry

Cedar, a morning profile

Cedar, a morning profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Thanksgiving Holiday provided for some extra time out in the field this weekend with Cedar.  With the extra couple of days of family time, I was able to get Cedar out for some well-deserved field time. On Friday we went out for an hour in the morning for a good walk around the park. Cedar took a good couple of dives after some rabbits but came up empty.  Cedar was successful in catching a couple of mice and the hunt was cut short, as the hunger subsided and the desire to hunt seemed to fade a few minutes after the second mouse was caught.  This is typical for most red-tails that end up catching a few snacks out in the field.

On Saturday, we went back to the same field in the afternoon.  A little less exciting as we missed the first rabbit that bounded out of the shrub I kicked while Cedar scouted for the wily squirrels. An hour later, we were both done and the darkness was fast approaching.

Friday and Saturday hunts were unremarkable, but Sunday’s hunt was amazing. On Sunday afternoon, I went to another location slightly further away.  Before I had parked the car, I had spotted three fox squirrels in the grassy area next to the road.  This was going to be good, I thought to myself.  Cedar alighted into the trees next to the car and took off in the opposite direction I wanted to go.  Squirrel hunting style for Cedar changes as a ‘Hawk-led’ activity, rather than a ‘Falconer-led’ activity (those falconers know what I’m talking about). So she swooped and flapped and dove and crashed brush for over an hour after those squirrels, never landing one in the bag.  A rabbit kicked out of the low, thin cover in the most unexpected place in this field. Cedar barreled out of the trees after the rabbit but was unable to connect.

Our afternoon ended up with an empty game pouch, a tired hawk, and an amazed falconer.  I’ve never seen her work so hard during hunting.  She did catch a good size mouse as a snack and I rewarded her at home with a good meal when we returned from the field.

 

 



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