My Latest Endeavor...

Tom

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Been waiting a little while to post this one, but all seems well. Got a new bird in November. I named her Tacoma. I caught her in a giant grape vine field out in Oildale, CA. There were a lot of other retails out there, both adults and passage birds, but Tacoma had a full crop and good weight, so she was holding her own in the crowd just fine. Here she is the evening of her first day with me:
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Here she is on the morning of day 2 getting some time on the fist:
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Here is night 3. First time with the hood off. You can see how terrified she looks:
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Just a few days later, I captured her first jump to the fist, outdoors in broad daylight:
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Here are some pics of day two of flight training:
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The transition from terrified wild animal that is sure you are going to kill it at any moment, to tame, eager participant happens in a matter of days. I've done it a few times now, and it is truly mind-blowing every time. As I move around and do normal things with the bird on my hand, I'm continually surprised at how quickly they go from being terrified at every muscle twitch, to completely unafraid of anything.

Today was day seven of flight training. I didn't get any pics, but she's flying over 100' now, and flying away from the fist and up to good perches now. Tomorrow we will go off-creance and she will have the option to fly away into the sunset if she wishes. Something tells me she won't.

Here she is catching some rays on her weathering perch this morning.
IMG_7627 copy.JPG
 

Tom

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They go from this:
IMG_0592 copy.JPG

To this:
IMG_7611 copy.JPG
In a matter of days.



The second pic is a hawk who is eagerly looking to fly to me for food. She doesn't feel threatened in any way and is actively looking me over for any food tid bits I might be offering. She willingly steps up on to the glove and is happy to ride around on the fist as we move around the ranch or house going about our business.
 

Tom

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Here is a pic I took to show the damage caused by feather mites in these birds while they are flying around out in the wild. She was being eaten alive. Literally.

I wonder how much more damage would be done between now and April or May when the molt begins, had I not caught her and intervened?
IMG_7323.JPG
 

KarenSoCal

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Here is a pic I took to show the damage caused by feather mites in these birds while they are flying around out in the wild. She was being eaten alive. Literally.

I wonder how much more damage would be done between now and April or May when the molt begins, had I not caught her and intervened?
View attachment 260702
I wonder if she would have enough plumage left to fly? How horrible! And no way to rid herself of this parasite!
 

wccmog10

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Here is a pic I took to show the damage caused by feather mites in these birds while they are flying around out in the wild. She was being eaten alive. Literally.

I wonder how much more damage would be done between now and April or May when the molt begins, had I not caught her and intervened?
View attachment 260702
Great posts @Tom. The photos showing the mite damage and the “before and after” (afraid and ready for food) are really informative. She looks like she is coming along quite nicely. Looking forward to that first free flight and successful hunt!
 

wccmog10

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I wonder if she would have enough plumage left to fly? How horrible! And no way to rid herself of this parasite!
I’m sure that eventually the mites would attack more substantial feathers, but what I’ve always seen is the lighter colored areas of the contour (body) feathers that get eaten. If you look at the photo you can see where the darker areas of the feathers are still intact for the most part and the lighter areas are eaten away. The real noticeable difference will come when she starts to molt and has a few new feathers scattered in amongst the damaged feathers. When the two are next to each other you can really see the difference.
 

Cheryl Hills

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They go from this:
View attachment 260700

To this:
View attachment 260701
In a matter of days.



The second pic is a hawk who is eagerly looking to fly to me for food. She doesn't feel threatened in any way and is actively looking me over for any food tid bits I might be offering. She willingly steps up on to the glove and is happy to ride around on the fist as we move around the ranch or house going about our business.
Beautiful bird. Is she a red tail or cooper?
 

Sabrina8797

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Now I'm even more glad/excited I found this forum! No accident on several accounts! I've been researching falconry for a couple of years. I'm so excited to follow your journey, and learn more! What an amazing dream come true for you! We have lots of Red-tailed hawks here in Illinois, i would never have guessed them to be in CA. Ha
 

Tom

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I wonder if she would have enough plumage left to fly? How horrible! And no way to rid herself of this parasite!
I would imagine it would have to take a toll on the aerodynamics and flight capabilities as more damage is done.

This is just one of the things the wild ones have to contend with. I tell you, the more I learn and see, the more surprised I am that any of them mange to survive.
 

Tom

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Great posts @Tom. The photos showing the mite damage and the “before and after” (afraid and ready for food) are really informative. She looks like she is coming along quite nicely. Looking forward to that first free flight and successful hunt!
Thanks Wade! I'll keep you posted for sure.

I took her to a friend's big horse arena for today's flying session, and she performed flawlessly. It was a little windy, but she figured it out. There are lights on 20 foot tall towers all around the arena. Took her a minute to figure out that I wanted her to fly away from me, but she got it and seemed to like being airborne in the wind again. She came back to me immediately every time I raised the garnished fist. No hesitation at all. I think tomorrow I'll take her to my training area with the taller telephone poles and go off creance. Weight is good now, and response is excellent. Every once in a while a rabbit will jump up at my trining area. She's into the lure, so I can't wait to see what she does with a real rabbit.

I'm bought the back pack stuff, but it seems no one I know has used them much out here. I'm going to go with my usual leg mounted transmitter until I can find some experienced help for my first back pack fitting and installation. I flew her with the leg mount today, and if she even noticed it, she showed zero reaction to it. My former sponsor suggested a tail mount. I may give that a try too...

Look at these light poles all around the horse arena. Like they were made for training new birds!
Minerva Training.png
 
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KarenSoCal

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I’m sure that eventually the mites would attack more substantial feathers, but what I’ve always seen is the lighter colored areas of the contour (body) feathers that get eaten. If you look at the photo you can see where the darker areas of the feathers are still intact for the most part and the lighter areas are eaten away. The real noticeable difference will come when she starts to molt and has a few new feathers scattered in amongst the damaged feathers. When the two are next to each other you can really see the difference.
Interesting! I suppose the contour feathers are some of the softest, but that doesn't explain the color preference.
 

wccmog10

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Interesting! I suppose the contour feathers are some of the softest, but that doesn't explain the color preference.
I’ve been told the lighter colors are more fragile than the darker colors, so that’s why they disappear first. They also get damaged easier from other things. The softest feathers are the down feathers, they are up under the contour feathers. Think of the contour feathers as a rain jacket, and the down feathers as the warm liner you wear under the rain jacket (Hence we use down feathers in jackets for ourselves- because they trap warmth).
 

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