My Latest Endeavor...

NorCal tortoise guy

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I really can't tell from the picture, but by process of elimination, if it was hawk-like, bigger than a turkey vulture, and dark in color, it would have to be a golden eagle. Nothing else fits the bill.
Maybe next time I can get a better picture I’m thinking golden eagle then. My coworker tells me there is a pair of them that nests near by but I wasn’t sure I believed until I saw this bird. I wish I had had the camera ready when she flew away from the road. Her size was so astonishing to me. We have an over abundance of rabbits around so I guess it might make a nice place to eagles to be.
 

Tom

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Maybe next time I can get a better picture I’m thinking golden eagle then. My coworker tells me there is a pair of them that nests near by but I wasn’t sure I believed until I saw this bird. I wish I had had the camera ready when she flew away from the road. Her size was so astonishing to me. We have an over abundance of rabbits around so I guess it might make a nice place to eagles to be.
Keep your eyes out and you might get to see, and hear, a stoop. Eagles soar thousands of feet up. So high that you can't even see them. When they stoop they are every bit as fast as a falcon, but the noise it makes is astonishing. Like they are ripping the sky. If you ever hear it, you'll never forget it.
 

Tom

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We are moving from the molt season back into hunting season. During the molt, they are free fed, fat, and happy. At the end of the molting season, we have to drop their weight back down, start exercising them, resume training, and get them ready to hunt. I have several areas near my ranch that are wide open and have safe, suitable perching areas for them up high.

Their first few flights are on creance (fancy falconry name for a long light leash...), and once response seems good, we let them free fly. Once they are free flying, they just need exercise and time in the air to get back in shape. This is also how we get their daily food ration into them. Each day we weigh them, and adjust the amount of food accordingly to slowly drop the weight back down to their "fightin' weight".

For the first day or two, I fly them separately so that I can precisely manage food, and work with each of them one on one with no distractions or interaction issues. This let's me see exactly where their heads are. Once they are free flying and field response is where I want it, we start hunting again. This process is usually about 4 weeks if you count all the weight management time. Well, true to form, my boys are moving ahead of schedule even though their weight is still high. They are literally diving in to their travel boxes, eager to go to work.

On Morty's first day free flying, I had him flying from telephone pole to glove to perch and back again, randomly. There have been an unusually high amount of rabbits running around all summer, presumably due to two years of great rain, and unbeknownst to me, there was a rabbit hiding out in my flying area, where there are usually none. Fat slow Morty decided to show me just how fit, fast, and ready to go hunting he is:
IMG_1382.jpg

This pic also shows the handsome new adult coloration. You can see how they got one of their other common names: Bay wing.
 

Chubbs the tegu

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We are moving from the molt season back into hunting season. During the molt, they are free fed, fat, and happy. At the end of the molting season, we have to drop their weight back down, start exercising them, resume training, and get them ready to hunt. I have several areas near my ranch that are wide open and have safe, suitable perching areas for them up high.

Their first few flights are on creance (fancy falconry name for a long light leash...), and once response seems good, we let them free fly. Once they are free flying, they just need exercise and time in the air to get back in shape. This is also how we get their daily food ration into them. Each day we weigh them, and adjust the amount of food accordingly to slowly drop the weight back down to their "fightin' weight".

For the first day or two, I fly them separately so that I can precisely manage food, and work with each of them one on one with no distractions or interaction issues. This let's me see exactly where their heads are. Once they are free flying and field response is where I want it, we start hunting again. This process is usually about 4 weeks if you count all the weight management time. Well, true to form, my boys are moving ahead of schedule even though their weight is still high. They are literally diving in to their travel boxes, eager to go to work.

On Morty's first day free flying, I had him flying from telephone pole to glove to perch and back again, randomly. There have been an unusually high amount of rabbits running around all summer, presumably due to two years of great rain, and unbeknownst to me, there was a rabbit hiding out in my flying area, where there are usually none. Fat slow Morty decided to show me just how fit, fast, and ready to go hunting he is:
View attachment 306153

This pic also shows the handsome new adult coloration. You can see how they got one of their other common names: Bay wing.
Sorry bunny.. thats what happens when u mess with Toms garden
 

Tom

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Okay. I'm starting to see a pattern here. Took them out today to fly them together, and instead of participating in my special pre-season falconry training drills, they did this:
IMG_1427 copy.jpg

I don't know how we are supposed to go hunting together if they won't practice their pre-season hunt training drills... :rolleyes:

I need to get some videos to post. These birds are awesome!
 

KarenSoCal

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I don't know how we are supposed to go hunting together if they won't practice their pre-season hunt training drills... :rolleyes:
Well, it's pretty obvious to me, though I know nothing of falconry, that they don't need pre-season hunt training drills.

They remember exactly how to hunt. I suspect they are worried about you, since to them it seems you have forgotten and need pre-season hunt training drills to sharpen you up. 😆

Be careful, lest you lose their hard-earned respect! 🙂
 

Tom

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Well, it's pretty obvious to me, though I know nothing of falconry, that they don't need pre-season hunt training drills.

They remember exactly how to hunt. I suspect they are worried about you, since to them it seems you have forgotten and need pre-season hunt training drills to sharpen you up. 😆

Be careful, lest you lose their hard-earned respect! 🙂
In all seriousness. I am pleasantly surprised by how quickly they've picked up right where we left off. This whole species is simply amazing, and my boys in particular, amaze me every day. I've read books, magazines and articles about Harris hawks for years, so I suppose I should not be surprised, but its truly awe-inspiring when you see it and experience it first hand. They are still birds, and all the principals of animal training still apply, but due to their highly social nature, they are very forgiving of mistakes, very pliable and amenable to the methods of different falconers, and they just make life fun and easy.
 

Blackdog1714

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In all seriousness. I am pleasantly surprised by how quickly they've picked up right where we left off. This whole species is simply amazing, and my boys in particular, amaze me every day. I've read books, magazines and articles about Harris hawks for years, so I suppose I should not be surprised, but its truly awe-inspiring when you see it and experience it first hand. They are still birds, and all the principals of animal training still apply, but due to their highly social nature, they are very forgiving of mistakes, very pliable and amenable to the methods of different falconers, and they just make life fun and easy.
Oh yeah like I am gonna ignore the fact that you practically radiant confince like the sun does light. Your boys read this and have no need for worry just work! Simply awesome sir!
 

Moozillion

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Hey, Tom- Have then fires affected your area, or where you and the boys typically hunt? 🙁
 

Tom

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Hey, Tom- Have then fires affected your area, or where you and the boys typically hunt? 🙁
I didn't see your question until just now. There was one day where the smoke was bad, so I brought them, and all the other birds, inside for the day. The rest of the days, favorable winds kept the smoke away from us.
 

Tom

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Last season I had a tough time getting them to take the big jackrabbits at first. Cottontails are super fast and challenging to catch, but not hard to hold on to if they can get close. Jacks are giant in comparison, and are the pinnacle of falconry prey. These birds weigh about 620-650 grams each when we are in shape and hunting. Adult jackrabbits weigh 2700 to 3200 grams. Their reluctance is understandable and I'm glad they aren't stupid and suicidal. Still, I knew they could do it, because that's what Harris' hawks do. They just had to be brave and learn the right techniques through experience and practice. Last year for about the first half of the season, Rick showed little interest in chasing jacks, and often would not even leave the perch when one bolted. Morty, on the other hand would chase them every time, but then just follow over them and not take a grab at them. He'd just let them go. All of a sudden, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, Rick bolted off the T- perch and dove onto the hind end of a jack that was about 50 feet away. Maybe it was the proximity that emboldened him enough to go for it? I don't know. It seemed no different than any other slip to me. (Slip is a falconry term referring to your bird chasing fleeing prey.) Well when Rick bolted, Morty instinctively followed. Morty went high as he usually does over a jack and was quite aways behind Rick who was literally hot on the tali of the jack. Inexplicably, and to my shock and amazement, Rick went for it, made contact and bound to the prey. Morty was in the beginning stage of peeling off and letting the "big bunny" go when he saw his brother out of the corner of his eye getting the ride of his young life! In mid air, Morty turned, stooped, and connected to the front half of the jack, stopping it in its tracks, and the three of them took a tumble. It was as if Morty thought to himself, "Well if brother is going to grab onto it, then I'll grab on to it too!" The jack complained, but was now unable to fight or run. It was over quickly. The boys ate big that day. Large reward for large effort. Just like that, they had learned how to work as a team and tackle large jacks. They didn't go for every single one after that day, but we ended up taking 25 jacks for their first season. In every case, Rick would take the initiative, grab the *** end, and Morty would pile in and take the head once his brother had done all the "heavy lifting" so to speak.

I always thought it would be Morty that first took the initiative because of Rick's total lack of interest in engaging or chasing giant prey, while Morty was very interested and gave chase almost every time, even though he was reluctant to make contact.

Which brings us to this new year. Their second season of hunting. The molt season is over and hunting has resumed. For whatever reason, Morty's weight dropped faster than Rick's, so he's a little more motivated. Rick's field performance is still excellent, but Morty has decided to be the jack exterminator this year. He flies after them like he used to last year, but now you can see some seriousness in his wingbeats when he's after one. Instead of floating like a butterfly over a running jack, he now looks more like a guided missile zeroing in on its moving target. Morty has now grabbed five of them, and Rick is the one coming in for the assist this year. When Rick finally gets down to weight and gets more serious, the two of them will be trying to outfly each other to get to the Jack first, and the future of each of those jacks that catch their attention is a lot less certain...

IMG_1461.jpg
IMG_1457.jpg
IMG_1551.jpg

And also for this year, my daughter has decided falconry is worth getting up early for again. I love having her along, and she always enjoys herself too.
IMG_1556.jpg

And a parting shot:
IMG_1558.JPG
 

Blackdog1714

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Last season I had a tough time getting them to take the big jackrabbits at first. Cottontails are super fast and challenging to catch, but not hard to hold on to if they can get close. Jacks are giant in comparison, and are the pinnacle of falconry prey. These birds weigh about 620-650 grams each when we are in shape and hunting. Adult jackrabbits weigh 2700 to 3200 grams. Their reluctance is understandable and I'm glad they aren't stupid and suicidal. Still, I knew they could do it, because that's what Harris' hawks do. They just had to be brave and learn the right techniques through experience and practice. Last year for about the first half of the season, Rick showed little interest in chasing jacks, and often would not even leave the perch when one bolted. Morty, on the other hand would chase them every time, but then just follow over them and not take a grab at them. He'd just let them go. All of a sudden, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, Rick bolted off the T- perch and dove onto the hind end of a jack that was about 50 feet away. Maybe it was the proximity that emboldened him enough to go for it? I don't know. It seemed no different than any other slip to me. (Slip is a falconry term referring to your bird chasing fleeing prey.) Well when Rick bolted, Morty instinctively followed. Morty went high as he usually does over a jack and was quite aways behind Rick who was literally hot on the tali of the jack. Inexplicably, and to my shock and amazement, Rick went for it, made contact and bound to the prey. Morty was in the beginning stage of peeling off and letting the "big bunny" go when he saw his brother out of the corner of his eye getting the ride of his young life! In mid air, Morty turned, stooped, and connected to the front half of the jack, stopping it in its tracks, and the three of them took a tumble. It was as if Morty thought to himself, "Well if brother is going to grab onto it, then I'll grab on to it too!" The jack complained, but was now unable to fight or run. It was over quickly. The boys ate big that day. Large reward for large effort. Just like that, they had learned how to work as a team and tackle large jacks. They didn't go for every single one after that day, but we ended up taking 25 jacks for their first season. In every case, Rick would take the initiative, grab the *** end, and Morty would pile in and take the head once his brother had done all the "heavy lifting" so to speak.

I always thought it would be Morty that first took the initiative because of Rick's total lack of interest in engaging or chasing giant prey, while Morty was very interested and gave chase almost every time, even though he was reluctant to make contact.

Which brings us to this new year. Their second season of hunting. The molt season is over and hunting has resumed. For whatever reason, Morty's weight dropped faster than Rick's, so he's a little more motivated. Rick's field performance is still excellent, but Morty has decided to be the jack exterminator this year. He flies after them like he used to last year, but now you can see some seriousness in his wingbeats when he's after one. Instead of floating like a butterfly over a running jack, he now looks more like a guided missile zeroing in on its moving target. Morty has now grabbed five of them, and Rick is the one coming in for the assist this year. When Rick finally gets down to weight and gets more serious, the two of them will be trying to outfly each other to get to the Jack first, and the future of each of those jacks that catch their attention is a lot less certain...

View attachment 309528
View attachment 309529
View attachment 309530

And also for this year, my daughter has decided falconry is worth getting up early for again. I love having her along, and she always enjoys herself too.
View attachment 309531

And a parting shot:
View attachment 309532
Looking back the carp i got up early for was not even close on the COOL SCALE! Like Superdad man come on!
 

Moozillion

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Last season I had a tough time getting them to take the big jackrabbits at first. Cottontails are super fast and challenging to catch, but not hard to hold on to if they can get close. Jacks are giant in comparison, and are the pinnacle of falconry prey. These birds weigh about 620-650 grams each when we are in shape and hunting. Adult jackrabbits weigh 2700 to 3200 grams. Their reluctance is understandable and I'm glad they aren't stupid and suicidal. Still, I knew they could do it, because that's what Harris' hawks do. They just had to be brave and learn the right techniques through experience and practice. Last year for about the first half of the season, Rick showed little interest in chasing jacks, and often would not even leave the perch when one bolted. Morty, on the other hand would chase them every time, but then just follow over them and not take a grab at them. He'd just let them go. All of a sudden, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, Rick bolted off the T- perch and dove onto the hind end of a jack that was about 50 feet away. Maybe it was the proximity that emboldened him enough to go for it? I don't know. It seemed no different than any other slip to me. (Slip is a falconry term referring to your bird chasing fleeing prey.) Well when Rick bolted, Morty instinctively followed. Morty went high as he usually does over a jack and was quite aways behind Rick who was literally hot on the tali of the jack. Inexplicably, and to my shock and amazement, Rick went for it, made contact and bound to the prey. Morty was in the beginning stage of peeling off and letting the "big bunny" go when he saw his brother out of the corner of his eye getting the ride of his young life! In mid air, Morty turned, stooped, and connected to the front half of the jack, stopping it in its tracks, and the three of them took a tumble. It was as if Morty thought to himself, "Well if brother is going to grab onto it, then I'll grab on to it too!" The jack complained, but was now unable to fight or run. It was over quickly. The boys ate big that day. Large reward for large effort. Just like that, they had learned how to work as a team and tackle large jacks. They didn't go for every single one after that day, but we ended up taking 25 jacks for their first season. In every case, Rick would take the initiative, grab the *** end, and Morty would pile in and take the head once his brother had done all the "heavy lifting" so to speak.

I always thought it would be Morty that first took the initiative because of Rick's total lack of interest in engaging or chasing giant prey, while Morty was very interested and gave chase almost every time, even though he was reluctant to make contact.

Which brings us to this new year. Their second season of hunting. The molt season is over and hunting has resumed. For whatever reason, Morty's weight dropped faster than Rick's, so he's a little more motivated. Rick's field performance is still excellent, but Morty has decided to be the jack exterminator this year. He flies after them like he used to last year, but now you can see some seriousness in his wingbeats when he's after one. Instead of floating like a butterfly over a running jack, he now looks more like a guided missile zeroing in on its moving target. Morty has now grabbed five of them, and Rick is the one coming in for the assist this year. When Rick finally gets down to weight and gets more serious, the two of them will be trying to outfly each other to get to the Jack first, and the future of each of those jacks that catch their attention is a lot less certain...

View attachment 309528
View attachment 309529
View attachment 309530

And also for this year, my daughter has decided falconry is worth getting up early for again. I love having her along, and she always enjoys herself too.
View attachment 309531

And a parting shot:
View attachment 309532
I love these posts!!! :)
 

Tom

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I took a little video of how they get into their travel boxes. The boxes are called hawk boxes, or giant hoods. Instead of putting a falconry hood on the birds like what you see on a falcon, hawks typically transport in these boxes that essentially serve as a "giant hood". The dimensions and design are the best way to keep them safe and comfortable when driving to the hunting fields.

They started doing this on their own about halfway through the year last year, and they've picked right back up where we left off for this year. I didn't teach them to do this. I didn't reward them or encourage this. This is clearly them thinking ahead and wanting to go hunting. They learned this all on their own. Get in the box, go for a ride, and when the door opens again, we hunt!
View attachment Rick Box.MOV
 

Moozillion

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WOW! They are both so excited!! Or else they're complaining about how slow the chauffeur is!!😄 It is SO COOL that they figured out what it was all about on their own!!!
 

Viola B

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I took a little video of how they get into their travel boxes. The boxes are called hawk boxes, or giant hoods. Instead of putting a falconry hood on the birds like what you see on a falcon, hawks typically transport in these boxes that essentially serve as a "giant hood". The dimensions and design are the best way to keep them safe and comfortable when driving to the hunting fields.

They started doing this on their own about halfway through the year last year, and they've picked right back up where we left off for this year. I didn't teach them to do this. I didn't reward them or encourage this. This is clearly them thinking ahead and wanting to go hunting. They learned this all on their own. Get in the box, go for a ride, and when the door opens again, we hunt!
View attachment 309715
That is amazing!
 
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