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Posts Tagged ‘falconry’

Millenium Falcon

October 11th, 2016

Millenium Falcon

We took a fall weekend to go up to Northern Michigan to enjoy the cool fall weather and some beach scenery. September is a wonderful month to enjoy the outdoors in Michigan, provided that the weather cooperates. Traveling Up North is always a visual buffet of colors, especially in the fall as trees explode in full autumn splendor. By ‘Up North’, I mean to say we camped on the shore of Lake Superior to witness the great spectacle of the beautiful big lake, ‘Gitchee Gumee’. Far Up North, more than the usual trip to the cabin. We spent three days watching hawks, eagles, loons, and geese as they migrated down the coast towards the warmer climes. We took in some of the sights, all the way up to Whitefish Point, where birds congregate on their migratory routes. All this ‘beach bird-watching’ with the purpose of observing falcons during the migration. The adventure was successful, to say that we saw one falcon and enjoyed some beautiful weather for a few days.

With the adventures coming to a close, we packed up the dog and the gear in the car and headed home on Sunday morning. With just a few miles under our tires from the campsite, we saw a female Kestrel perched on a snag not far off the road. I stopped the car, loaded up the mice in the B.C. and we pitched the trap out the window with a good serve so she could see it. In just a few minutes, the Kestrel came down from the perch and hit the trap. A quick rescue and health survey, we had our first falcon of the weekend. We named her ‘Millie’ which is short for “Millenium Falcon”. “Millie” is now part of the falconry adventures for Kelly and myself and we are looking forward to all her training into a well-mannered falconry bird.

Millie is the second addition to the Falconry menagerie, behind Cedar.  We are hopeful that Millie will train well and become a wonderful falconry bird.

 

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HawkFest 2015

September 20th, 2015

HawkFest 2015

This past weekend was the annual 2015 HawkFest at Lake Erie MetroPark in Brownstown Township, Michigan.  This annual event celebrates the migration of raptors from Canada as they cross the ‘land-bridge’ from Ontario to Michigan and continue their way to their winter resting grounds.   If the migration is timed correctly, and the weather is good, the migration of hundreds of thousands of hawks can be observed.  The weather this past Saturday was not the greatest for bird watching, raptor migrations, or outdoor nature events, but after the front cleared out the humidity and the rain, the afternoon turned out to be an enjoyable Saturday afternoon. The hawk flights picked up in the afternoon and raptors could be observed readily in the afternoon hours.  Several Osprey, Bald Eagles, and smaller accipiters could be observed from the main viewing area.  A small kettle of Broad-Winged Hawks formed over the nature center for a few brief minutes as nature enthusiasts looked on with binoculars.

A few club members, including myself spent time out in the trapping/banding blind catching Coopers Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks.  Each year, licensed bird banders trap, band, and collect measurements on the migrating raptors that traverse across the river to keep moving on from their northern territory.  The biggest migrating hawk by the numbers is  the Broad-Winged Hawk.  Members of the Michigan Hawking Club an other local nature organizations come to the HawkFest to share their love of raptors with others and enjoy all of nature’s gifts.  In addition, many members of the Michigan Hawking Club donate their time and expertise in Falconry to come to the event for the day to provide Hawk Talks to HawkFest attendees.

The picture below, taken by Krystal Hoag shows Cedar and myself presenting falconry lore to a few of the onlookers attending the event this past Saturday.  There were many folks who took in the celebration of raptor migration and on Sunday the Club Booth was well attended.  This is one of the tenants of the Michigan Hawking Club, to provide educational programs and ‘HawkTalks’  to interested attendees.

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Falconry Milestone: 5th Year of Falconry

September 23rd, 2013

Falconry Milestone: 5th Year of Falconry

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Falconry Achievement Unlocked!

 

Another Fall trapping season is upon us and it is with great excitement that falconry season begins in earnest again. Fall has always been my favorite season. You can read about my full appreciation and description of fall in a previous post. My love and appreciation for fall still holds strong and I’m excited as ever for another beautiful autumn season in Michigan.

Falconry educational events are clustered in the fall to coincide with annual bird migrations and fall hunting expos. These are great avenues that I continue to enjoy the role as falconry ambassador to folks who’ve never encountered a raptor up-close. Woods-n-Water, HawkFest, and Cranefest are just a few of the many fall events that include the Michigan Hawking Club. I’ve been attending these events for the past several years for the educational opportunities and also to get to hang out with many of my super-awesome-terrific falconry friends in the community.

It is also a Falconry Milestone for me as I embark on my 5th year of Falconry. Nothing spectacular happens to you in the 5th year, nothing special. This is my own hallmark and milestone as I continue my journey into the sport of Falconry. It is with great appreciation for nature, the falconry community, and the beloved raptors that have taught me everything I’ve learned about falconry. I continue my journey with no expectations and the anticipation of more wonderful falconry adventures to come. I have no destination in mind. I do not know where I’m going, but I know that the journey and the adventures will continue to amaze me!

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First Hawk Off the Trap

September 18th, 2012

Trapping

Trapping can be one of the most exciting aspects of falconry.  It’s an exciting time to trap and train your new hawk for the new falconry season, but the excitement and adrenaline rush as you race to rescue that hawk from the trap after waiting ten minutes (or longer in some cases) for that Immy to come down to the trap off that pole is highly energizing.

So, after carefully watching a bird on a post for 20 minutes look down on the trap, but not come down to it, I gave up.  I drove over to another area, and then came back to the first bird I saw, she had moved over to a taller tower. By this time, she was hungrier than earlier that morning, and when I threw out the trap the second time, turned the car around, she was coming down to the trap and got herself stuck.  Here is the picture of the hawk wrapped up for first wieght.

 

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Results of trapping

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Apprentice Workshop

July 26th, 2012

Apprentice Workshop

One of the best MHC Events during the summer (off hunting season) that falconry can offer is the Apprentice workshop that the MHC puts on for aspiring falconers. This the best event for young falconers to get to know members of the club, discuss finer topics of falconry, as well as get some hand’s on experience with making equipment. This is a workshop that the experienced club members put on for new, upcoming falconers to learn more about the details and particulars of this fine sport.

The schedule created for the event is designed to cover the wide range of topics is a full one and takes a full day to complete. While a one-day course taught by experienced falconers is not quite a comprehensive orientation, it is a good start by which someone can make some intelligent decision making about continuing to persue the sport.
* Photography credits to Deborah O.

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