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Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

Owl Houses Ready for Residents

July 22nd, 2013

A nice weekend up north at the Hootch provided an opportunity to finally place the owl houses built.  After careful selection of the trees and locations, my Dad and I were able to get the owl houses that we built last year posted on some sturdy trees.

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Ethics in Falconry

April 26th, 2013

Ethics in Falconry

Got Ethics?
At a recent falconry convention, the subject of ethics in falconry was brought up. While falconers are held to a different standard of hunting and ethics in the field, there was one area of particular discussion. The concept of reasonable consideration of your fellow falconers. A code of honor, if you will between falconers when hunting together or when hunting in close proximity is always appreciated.  Here are a few suggestions below:

Falconer Code of Honor

  • Honor hunting grounds – If a fellow falconer takes you to a hunting area, you should honor that hunting site as someone else’s hunting area.  Always ask the other falconer if they mind if you hunt there. (Even if it is public land.)
  • Let others hunt first – Courtesy goes a long way when hunting with others.  Offer the “fresh field” to your fellow falconers.
  • Willingness to share the game – Even though it’s your hawk/falcon that took the prize, you might want to offer part of your kill to the other members of the hunting party who helped you beat the brush.

Additional Ethical Areas of Falconry:

  • Trapping
  • Car Hawking
  • Trespassing
  • Treatment of Quarry
Each of these areas of falconry requires a serious understanding of the legality of such activity along with the moral and ethical considerations that go along with it.
If you have some other ideas or suggestions for the falconry code of honor between falconers, please be sure to post a comment!
-Cheers!

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Sable’s Release back to the Wild

April 1st, 2012

Sable’s Release back to the Wild

After 6 months as a falconry bird this season with Sable, I was grateful to return her to the wild this weekend.  With just about a half-season of hunting together, we had to take it easy for the remainder of the winter to heal the injuries sustained from hard hunting in the wild over the Christmas break.  She healed up alright, and will be sure to succeed in the wild, I’m confident of her abilities.  Sable was a very gentle, mild mannered Red-Tailed Hawk who took to manning quickly and was quite the successful hunter earlier in the fall.  She never made an aggressive move toward me and was a perfect apprentice bird for a second experience. She was instantly successful with our first hunting exercises and took to squirrel hawking quite naturally. I will miss the best parts about her as the next chapter in my Falconry book turns.

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With the release of my first bird, Tahoe last year, this picture (above) seems to be a tradition, as our family gathers together to say goodbye to the hawks we treat as guests in our mews and with our family for the season.  It is a bittersweet moment in the course of a falconer’s experience with any bird, I suppose.  It also provides a learning opportunity for my family as I hope to show my boys how to care for and respect the wild animals that inhabit our earth with us. A bird has been trained and captured from the wild has grown accustomed to the the company of a human hunting companion for a period of time, and the set free to return to the wilderness from which she came.  Sure, they are not ‘pets’ like a cat or a dog, who appreciates the master and interacts socially, looking for praise and companionship.  Raptors are solitary creatures and show no affection to their falconry hosts. At best, they might respect you, but you only serve as a meal ticket in their eyes.  Nevertheless, it does not prevent the human condition from growing attached ourselves to these beautiful, wild creatures.  It is the feelings of admiration and respect for them that provides for the personification of our hunting partner; we give her a name, call her out in the field, describer her attitude in human terms, and care for her as gently and as lovingly as we can.  After all, If I didn’t love them and appreciate these wonderful animals as much as I do, I wouldn’t be a falconer.

 

“Be free, my friend.  As nature intended you to be.”

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Vulture Awareness Day 2011

August 25th, 2011

International Vulture Awareness Day 2011

September 3rd, 2011 is International Vulture Awareness day.  It’s also interesting to note that I see Turkey Vultures almost every day where I live.  Not just one, or two;  hundreds.  I can look up in the sky around my house and see at least 10 at any time.  Why so common around Lake  Orion? The Eagle valley waste management facility south of Lake Orion on Lapeermight have something to do with it, as they congregate here in kettles by the hundreds. Click here for a link to the IVAD home page.

 

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Merlin

August 1st, 2011

Merlin

I have observed Merlins (Falco columbarius) in the wild on a few previous occasions.  They are spactacular arialists and fly far and fast.  This past weekend at the Michigan Hawking Club Summer Picnic, I was able to get some great photos of a recently captured Merlin.  There were several Merlins that were trapped by the Michigan Hawking Club in coordination with the USFWS, Michigan Department of Agriculture, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Northern Michigan earlier this spring.  This project which saved the natural resources of our state and provided the use of trapping as a non-lethal means of removing these highly efficient hunters from their hunting grounds along the sand dunes.  One of their favorite shorebirds is the Piping Plover, an endangered species that nests along the sandy beaches of the Lake Michigan Shoreline.  Removal of the Merlins predating on the Piping Plovers ensures the success of the established breeding pairs along the lakeshore.

The photo above is one of several great shots that I took on Saturday of this wonderful little guy.  I look forward to hearing of his hunting adventures the next time I talk with my fellow falconers!

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