My Latest Endeavor...

Cathie G

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I haven't yet. I'm told the jack rabbits taste terrible, but the cottontails tase good. I've been wanting to try it and probably will soon. Those back legs seem like they would be tasty. Very soft light colored meat there. I'm not much of a cook, and my wife isn't into the rabbit thing, so I'll have to figure it out on my own. I figure some butter, garlic, salt and pepper, ought to do it. I'll probably fry them up in an iron skillet.
I don't eat rabbit but I have cooked and ate it in the past. I found a recipe with pineapple and stuff, much like sweet and sour chicken. It was good but it needs cooked a long time and several steps.
 

Moozillion

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I know I asked this on the Cats and Dogs section, but I'll ask again, here; What happens with Rick and Morty when you're out of town so long doing TV and movie shoots?
 

Tom

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I know I asked this on the Cats and Dogs section, but I'll ask again, here; What happens with Rick and Morty when you're out of town so long doing TV and movie shoots?
We have 3 full time professional animal caretakers, plus my wife and daughter, plus another falconer that I work with, all looking after them and feeding them daily.
 

TriciaStringer

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I haven't yet. I'm told the jack rabbits taste terrible, but the cottontails tase good. I've been wanting to try it and probably will soon. Those back legs seem like they would be tasty. Very soft light colored meat there. I'm not much of a cook, and my wife isn't into the rabbit thing, so I'll have to figure it out on my own. I figure some butter, garlic, salt and pepper, ought to do it. I'll probably fry them up in an iron skillet.
Rabbit is very tasty. Eric wants to start raising them as a meat source for us. Their poop will also be used as an excellent fertilizer for the garden. We have bought rabbit at the local butcher shop and made stew. It was delicious. The kids didn't know what it was until afterward. They said it was still yummy even after finding out it was rabbit.
 
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Tom

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The hunting season is almost upon us. There has been a new addition. For anyone who watches the show "Rick And Morty", the boys have a new big sister that will bully them and keep them in line. Care to guess her name??? She is a beast! She's not messin' around.

A friend had her as part of an abatement program, and she wasn't content just scaring the other birdies away. She wanted to hunt them. She needs to hunt, and hunt she will. A lot. He decided to give er to me. It will be an adventure for sure.

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Ray--Opo

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The hunting season is almost upon us. There has been a new addition. For anyone who watches the show "Rick And Morty", the boys have a new big sister that will bully them and keep them in line. Care to guess her name??? She is a beast! She's not messin' around.

A friend had her as part of an abatement program, and she wasn't content just scaring the other birdies away. She wanted to hunt them. She needs to hunt, and hunt she will. A lot. He decided to give er to me. It will be an adventure for sure.

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Beautiful, what type is it?
 

KarenSoCal

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Will you actually hunt with 3 birds at once? That huge perch you carry in the field only has 2 perches, doesn't it? And 3 would be kind of heavy.

BTW, rabbit is AWFUL!! I've only had it one time and never again. Yuck!
@TriciaStringer sorry, but I had to warn him! ;)
 

mrnewberry

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The hunting season is almost upon us. There has been a new addition. For anyone who watches the show "Rick And Morty", the boys have a new big sister that will bully them and keep them in line. Care to guess her name??? She is a beast! She's not messin' around.

A friend had her as part of an abatement program, and she wasn't content just scaring the other birdies away. She wanted to hunt them. She needs to hunt, and hunt she will. A lot. He decided to give er to me. It will be an adventure for sure.

View attachment 333003
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Such cool birds!
 

Tom

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Will you actually hunt with 3 birds at once? That huge perch you carry in the field only has 2 perches, doesn't it? And 3 would be kind of heavy.

BTW, rabbit is AWFUL!! I've only had it one time and never again. Yuck!
@TriciaStringer sorry, but I had to warn him! ;)
3 birds up at once is the plan. She has been flying with two boys her whole life and they are around the same age, so it should work, in theory. I've got them living side-by-side now and no issues or funny looks what so ever. She actually seems protective of the boys. I'll make the perch up top just a little longer. It will be rare for all three to be on it at once, but they don't weigh much and it balances well. She weighs around 900 grams when hunting and the boys weigh around 650 each. I can manage that.

Step 1: Because of where she lived and what she was used for, she's never really hunted. I don't know if she's ever seen a rabbit. Part of how I ended up with her is her very high hunting drive. My challenge, and I don't think it will be any challenge at all, is to get her on to rabbits. I'm pretty sure she will hit the first one she sees with years of pent up fury, and it will feel so natural and fulfilling to her.

Step 2: Once I get her hunting well alone, which includes following along, returning when called, trying like hell to catch every rabbit she sees, and learning how the whole trade off thing works, then I will introduce one of the boys to her. I think the boys will serve as "make hawks". Essentially, they learn by watching other more experienced hawks. This works with such social animals. The great unknown is how she will react to the boys while on a kill and how they will react to her. The females are very dominant and much larger, so I'll proceed with caution and see how it goes. Once she's good with one boy, I'll hunt her with the other. Assuming all goes well, I'll begin hunting the three of them together.

Step 3: Managing two birds on a kill by yourself is relatively easy. Toss food to one over there, toss food for the other the other way, stash the kill, put a tid bit on the glove, pick up whoever finishes eating first, and walk away from the other one while it finishes its meal. Managing three is going to be a challenge. I've got several ideas and a good plan that has been approved by several master falconers with much more experience than me, but it will be very fluid with changes and decision made by the second. I have my ideas about how I think it will go and how I think it should go, but I'm pretty sure the birds will teach me how to do it. The first time I put her up with one of the boys, I'll have a someone with me that knows the ropes. Same idea when I put all three up for the first few times. An extra set of hands will help solve any unforeseen problems quickly.
 

mrnewberry

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How are your birds? You getting ready for the season?
I got a parrot a couple of years ago that I think would object to another bird. But, I really have gotten a lot busier with tortoises and kids etc. and worry about a lack of time. I have kept up with my permit though. So, one of these days I may jump back in.
 

Toddrickfl1

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The hunting season is almost upon us. There has been a new addition. For anyone who watches the show "Rick And Morty", the boys have a new big sister that will bully them and keep them in line. Care to guess her name??? She is a beast! She's not messin' around.

A friend had her as part of an abatement program, and she wasn't content just scaring the other birdies away. She wanted to hunt them. She needs to hunt, and hunt she will. A lot. He decided to give er to me. It will be an adventure for sure.

View attachment 333003
View attachment 333004
Tom, what's an abatement program?
 

Tom

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Tom, what's an abatement program?
I'll try to keep it short, but its a long answer to do thoroughly.

As we humans expand our territories and make places for ourselves to live, work and play, other species sometimes capitalize on the situations that we create. Sometimes these animals become pests, over-breed without the normal natural controls that would be there if humans and their settlements weren't there, and often these pests do terrible damage, and or create unsanitary conditions. Some examples: 1. Who can forget Bill Murray in Caddy Shack? "Oh Mr. Gopher..." Gophers, ground squirrels and rabbits can wreak havoc on a golf course. 2. I grow grape vines to feed the leaves to my torts. My family likes to eat the grapes, but the local birds and rodents take a toll. Imagine that toll for a 1000 acre vineyard. 3. Everyone throws trash away. That trash goes to a landfill, aka "the dump". Seagulls and other birds come in by the 1000's root around the rotting waste, and spread pathogens everywhere they go. Having a protocol for "pest management" is a government requirement for anyone operating a landfill.

In each of these scenarios, the pests need to be dealt with and their damage brought to a halt. Throughout history we've used poisons, traps, netting, guns, scarecrows, and all manner of methods to fight the war against the animals who damage our stuff. We talk about keeping predatory pests away from our tortoises here constantly. One handy tool that has recently been discovered and put to good use is falconry. Pest animals don't want to be where their predators are flying about. Rather than try to kill a 1000 seagulls at the dump, and then have to kill 1000 more that move in after those first ones are gone, it turns out all you have to do is pay a guy to fly his raptors around the area a few times a week. The seagulls leave the area of their own free will, and hopefully seek out more natural areas to do their seagull business. Another human makes a living, raptors get exercise and mental fulfillment, pest animals go back to living free and in the wild where they belong, and nothing has to die and no toxic chemicals or poisons get spread around the earth. Its a win win win win win win win situation for all parties involved. There are limitless ways to make this work.

Here are some examples off the top of my head of falconry birds being used for "abatement":
Getting seagulls and other pest birds out of the dump.
Protecting fruit harvests in berry fields and vineyards all over the world.
Keeping pigeons and seagulls away from outdoor eating areas at Cafés and restaurants.
Keeping pest numbers down at golf courses and parks.
Keeping ducks, geese, and other birds off the tarmac and away from runways and other areas where planes and helicopters are taking off.
Here in SoCal we have feral parrots. They come to the film sets and make a lot of noise. This makes it difficult to film scenes for movies, TV and commercial and record dialogue. Pop a Harris Hawk up into a nearby tree and all the parrots go elsewhere. No muss no fuss.

I'm sure there are many more uses for trained raptors, but all of these are relatively inexpensive compared to the alternatives, environmentally sound, non-toxic, easy, sensible, and the "optics" are good for the public. I wish that last one wasn't a factor, but it is nowadays. Can't have a person walking around town with a shotgun blasting seagulls out of the sky, but nobody minds seeing a guy or gal walking around with a hawk following them around town for food treats. The myriad problems with poisons, and the difficulties of trapping are obvious, but what is the down side to a well trained birdy flying around at random times a few days a week? Most people love it.
 

Ray--Opo

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I'll try to keep it short, but its a long answer to do thoroughly.

As we humans expand our territories and make places for ourselves to live, work and play, other species sometimes capitalize on the situations that we create. Sometimes these animals become pests, over-breed without the normal natural controls that would be there if humans and their settlements weren't there, and often these pests do terrible damage, and or create unsanitary conditions. Some examples: 1. Who can forget Bill Murray in Caddy Shack? "Oh Mr. Gopher..." Gophers, ground squirrels and rabbits can wreak havoc on a golf course. 2. I grow grape vines to feed the leaves to my torts. My family likes to eat the grapes, but the local birds and rodents take a toll. Imagine that toll for a 1000 acre vineyard. 3. Everyone throws trash away. That trash goes to a landfill, aka "the dump". Seagulls and other birds come in by the 1000's root around the rotting waste, and spread pathogens everywhere they go. Having a protocol for "pest management" is a government requirement for anyone operating a landfill.

In each of these scenarios, the pests need to be dealt with and their damage brought to a halt. Throughout history we've used poisons, traps, netting, guns, scarecrows, and all manner of methods to fight the war against the animals who damage our stuff. We talk about keeping predatory pests away from our tortoises here constantly. One handy tool that has recently been discovered and put to good use is falconry. Pest animals don't want to be where their predators are flying about. Rather than try to kill a 1000 seagulls at the dump, and then have to kill 1000 more that move in after those first ones are gone, it turns out all you have to do is pay a guy to fly his raptors around the area a few times a week. The seagulls leave the area of their own free will, and hopefully seek out more natural areas to do their seagull business. Another human makes a living, raptors get exercise and mental fulfillment, pest animals go back to living free and in the wild where they belong, and nothing has to die and no toxic chemicals or poisons get spread around the earth. Its a win win win win win win win situation for all parties involved. There are limitless ways to make this work.

Here are some examples off the top of my head of falconry birds being used for "abatement":
Getting seagulls and other pest birds out of the dump.
Protecting fruit harvests in berry fields and vineyards all over the world.
Keeping pigeons and seagulls away from outdoor eating areas at Cafés and restaurants.
Keeping pest numbers down at golf courses and parks.
Keeping ducks, geese, and other birds off the tarmac and away from runways and other areas where planes and helicopters are taking off.
Here in SoCal we have feral parrots. They come to the film sets and make a lot of noise. This makes it difficult to film scenes for movies, TV and commercial and record dialogue. Pop a Harris Hawk up into a nearby tree and all the parrots go elsewhere. No muss no fuss.

I'm sure there are many more uses for trained raptors, but all of these are relatively inexpensive compared to the alternatives, environmentally sound, non-toxic, easy, sensible, and the "optics" are good for the public. I wish that last one wasn't a factor, but it is nowadays. Can't have a person walking around town with a shotgun blasting seagulls out of the sky, but nobody minds seeing a guy or gal walking around with a hawk following them around town for food treats. The myriad problems with poisons, and the difficulties of trapping are obvious, but what is the down side to a well trained birdy flying around at random times a few days a week? Most people love it.
Very interesting, at the landscape dept at Lowe's. They have a recording of a certain bird playing all the time. I guess it keeps other birds from coming in and nesting.
 

KarenSoCal

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My challenge, and I don't think it will be any challenge at all, is to get her on to rabbits. I'm pretty sure she will hit the first one she sees with years of pent up fury, and it will feel so natural and fulfilling to her.
That touches on something else that came to mind...what happens if she/they spot a puppy or small cat in the field? Or any other animal?

How do you train them to only go after rabbits? Or DO you train them to only go after rabbits? 🐈🦨🐿️🐩🐇

Or better, could they help to eliminate some of the nasties who invade our yards and houses? 🪱🕷️🦂
 

Isaiah C.

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I just read this whole thread in the span of an hour while eating dinner. Thank you for sharing this! It really has been an amazing read.

I was raised around much more domestic birds (my grandmother owned a pet store but she mostly specialized in all manner of parrots. I learned to whistle at three years old copying her cockatiel, which is the opposite of how it usually goes. Mix that with having once seen a cockatoo compeltely rip a corner off a very sturdy wooden desk in a fit of annoyance because my grandmother was gone, and you end up with a someone who has a healthy amount of both admiration and respect for what birds can do.

Falcons are especially cool. I developed an interest in falconry as a kid studying medieval history and wasted way too many hours watching videos of it on YouTube, but getting older and busier with college made me realize that it would (and still will be) a long time before I have the time and money to sink into the "sport". Maybe one day!

Until that day comes, though, I'll follow this thread and enjoy the ride and the lessons.
 

Tom

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That touches on something else that came to mind...what happens if she/they spot a puppy or small cat in the field? Or any other animal?

How do you train them to only go after rabbits? Or DO you train them to only go after rabbits? 🐈🦨🐿️🐩🐇

Or better, could they help to eliminate some of the nasties who invade our yards and houses? 🪱🕷️🦂
Anything is possible, but they tend to be very picky about their prey. Every bird is different, and some are plain nutty, but mine have all been selective. Each redtail of mine caught one ground squirrel. Each time I made the difficult choice to rob them of their prize and give them no reward for grabbing the "wrong" thing, and none of them ever did it again despite seeing ground squirrels in the field almost daily. Rick and Morty each grabbed one in their first year, but only one. They each grabbed one at the start of their second year too, but then no reward so no more. Now, they just ignore them. The positive reinforcement (food) only comes when they catch the right things. They once caught a quail and got big reward for that, but usually don't even try for those anymore. Quail are too fast and not worth their effort when rabbits are so plentiful. When I first started hunting them in their first year, there was one warm day where Morty kept going after lizards. Lots of effort, no reward, and so that behavior stopped quickly. Last season Rick flew into a backyard and grabbed somebody's chicken through a gap in the pen. That wasn't fun, but the chicken got away with minor damage luckily. Never happened again after that day despite returning to that area many times. One time a lady came out her front door with a tiny off-leash chihuahua puppy right across the street from where my bird was perched on a light pole hunting. Tacoma looked at it, I nearly had a heart attack, and then she looked away. I literally began running to flush a rabbit, and luckily that held Tacoma's attention and worked to distract her from the possible morsel across the street.

They've seen cats in the field and stay clear of them. Too big and too dangerous, so they seem to think. Dogs scare them, so they leave them alone. Even smaller dogs. Every time they decide to go for prey there seems to be a cost/benefit thought process in their heads and they usually make good decisions. I keep them well fed and on the heavy side, so they are not hunting out of extreme hunger or desperation. This also allows them the luxury of making good choices about what to chase or grab. They even let jack rabbits go some of the time, much to my dismay. They see something that makes them not want to strike and bind at the last minute sometimes, and other times they go for it. After witnessing both scenarios dozens of times, I cannot see whatever it is they are seeing. I'm hoping the new female isn't as timid with the jacks. Its maddening for me to watch them slowly trot away while my birds sit and watch them go.

One of the amazing things about falconry is that there are so many different raptor species to work with, so many different prey species to hunt, and so many different ways to hunt. I hunt rabbits with Harris hawks. There is a legendary falconer in AZ that hunts quail on horseback with a visual and a male Harris hawk. I have friends in GA that hunt tree squirrels with Harris hawks and redtails. Friends here in CA hunt ducks and rabbits with Goshawks, and ducks with falcons too. Others here have Golden Eagles and hunt for jack rabbits. Others hunt English house sparrows (a terrible introduced pest) with kestrels or merlins.

Some birds, like mine are hunted loose. I allow them to choose their own perches, or use the T perch I carry for them, and they follow along because they want to. Eagles and goshawks are typically flown from the fist. You walk around in the brush with your bird on your hand and launch it when game jumps up. Redtail typical follow along taking perches wherever they can. Eagles, Harris hawks, most falcons and redtails can also be hunted "waiting on" from the sky above. Flacons fly up to the heavens to do their legendary 200 mph stoops, but hawks and eagles can also be trained to ride the thermals up and wait for game to be flushed by the falconer under them. There is really no limit to what can be done, and there is something for almost everyone.
 

KarenSoCal

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There is really no limit to what can be done, and there is something for almost everyone.
This is just beyond fascinating! Thank you for the detailed anecdotes and explanations. I could sit and read this all night long.

To me, it's especially interesting to read of their intelligence. Birds are so much brighter than humans give them credit for. A while back at a CTTC meeting we were shown an episode of "Nature" that centered on crows. My mouth hung open in astonishment at what they are capable of doing. They make tools to use to solve problems...something that was thought to be reserved for higher level intellect.
They look at a treat that is inaccessable , size it up, and think about how to solve the problem, and then do complex processes involving 3-5 steps to get the treat. And this is the first time they have ever confronted this particular series of obstacles!
And best of all...crows can recognize one individual human, that it doesn't like, in a huge busy crowd of people. And when that crow's fledglings are still in the nest, the parent can describe that bad human to the babies, so even though the baby has never seen that human before, he will recognize and avoid the human if he is seen.
 
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