Saturday, December 29, 2007

2 days 5 crows

I went to the first meeting of a new club in CA, the CGA - California Gamehawkers Association. Pretty cool, a lot of old timers there, people who'd already been around a long time when I got started in 89. A lot of crows around too and P & I went in for a hawking marathon.

When you go someplace the first time it's so easy, the crows are unaware, and in this town they're everywhere. The first 2 crows on Friday took a total of 20 minutes to get: I drove 8 blocks the first time, and about 1 mile for the 2nd. In the afternoon we got another less than 3 miles away from the meet site. The last one was a spectacular flight into a flock of about a hundred crows hanging around a dairy. Saturday, 2 crows in the morning, then I got a late start for the afternoon and got one slip that P missed.

Out of all that some terrific flights, even the crows that ducked flat were highly entertaining. Late this afternoon P got a good reward for his efforts.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

finally out again

Finding a slip has been really tough this week. If it wasn't raining, it was gusty winds, and when it's windy, crows stay in the trees. Some days I've driven a couple hours to find one slip, or none. I was desperate enough Wednesday to toss him at a group of starlings -- too small and too quick, though.

Part of why today was good was calmer weather. I've specially trained the quarry to not be down in the afternoons, because that's when I hawk. So today I went out in the morning, and they were all down. And they were unwary of my car, which in the afternoons they recognize.

That says some interesting things about how crows think. The silver SUV that comes in the afternoon is not the same as one that comes in the morning. Since they probably see silver SUVs all day and very few of them contain crow murderers, it would a waste of energy and too stressful to be wary of all of them. But if I hawked any time of day, they would certainly figure it out.

But for the moment I was anonymous again, and P happily caught two. I tried for a third but he was pretty full and it was getting to a time they would rather be up in the trees, or flying.

It was probably a good thing we caught one of the crows we caught. It had problems.

WARNING: GRISLY DEAD ANIMAL PICTURES

It appeared to be congenitally missing a bunch of secondaries on both wings.

Note the thinness of the first few primaries.
Mandibles can overgrow for a variety of reasons: nutritional problems, liver disease, viruses. They get around it surprisingly well by turning the head sideways to eat or drink.

The liver of this crow (which I will not show) was also substandard. The color was paler than normal. The right lobe was small and the left lobe was almost as thin as paper.

Friday, December 14, 2007

prey of the day


After two difficult flushes, P caught this one in flight, nice job. It was a fighter -- you can see there's a bit of hawk down on his/her beak, and it was grabbing everything it could.

Drives by Corporation X have not shown us the speckled goose again. It's certainly migrated onward. I'd like to catch another seagull but the situations have just not been right. Usually there's too many of them, and they gather where people eat, which means there are people around.

Friday, December 07, 2007

the messenger is the message

Channel-surfing just now, I ran across PBS and "Happiness Prescription With Deepak Chopra." I've never seen the guy before, haven't read his books, but apparently he's pretty popular. He was talking about the Buddha.

He was also wearing the most amazing pair of glasses. Red plastic with sparkly rhinestones. Every time he moved his head they jumped out at me like a pair of Martian antennae on the Mona Lisa. Actually, I could see the Mona Lisa wearing Martian antennae because of that smile. She'd get the joke; she'd be in on it. Chopra was earnest and serious while wearing a pair of glasses more appropriate to a 10 year-old girl visiting Hollywood for the very first time. Or Bootsy Collins. Just not a philosopher.

I just couldn't take anything he said seriously, even it being an explanation of the eightfold path. The glasses spoke louder than Chopra himself.

i would have found it sooner

if the weather had been warmer. It was in my vest, in a pocket I don't usually use.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

yum

One of the few things that strikes anxiety into a Harris hawker's heart is knowing you've got a plastic bag of meat tidbits somewhere... but you don't know where.

You just know you'll find out in a few days.