Monday, August 21, 2006

sharpie obsession

Sunday evening I brought my video camera along and taped R as he hunted with the sharpie. He'd caught a good sized one in the morning already, and that evening caught two more. I was able to record one of the catches and two misses. The action happens in an eyeblink – a flight is about one second long, two if lengthy.

Interesting thing about the accipiter mind: it's really true, the more they catch, the more calm and happy they are. In many raptors, the foot holding the prey appears to have its own brain, unconnected to the one at the top. It holds and won't let go. Larger, non-accipitrine hawks often eventually figure out how to get the upper brain to talk to the lower brain. Letting go requires concentration, and they will comically stare at the foot until it reluctantly opens.

Typical accipiter, this bird has tended to space out after a catch, so neither brain was actually cogitating. It took some doing to transfer him to the lure, which he also clutched and spaced out on. However, after the third catch of the day, he transferred to the lure very smoothly, and hopped right back onto R's glove when the food was gone.

Three birds in one day called for celebration. We went back to his place with a six pack, hooked up the camera to the TV and watched it all over again.

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