Saturday, August 09, 2008

84 and snap

It's looking like 84 is a good one for now. He's been a titch quieter and, though I still make mistakes with slips, he seems more forgiving. K1 says once we come to an understanding (lol) I'll be able to bring his weight up a little, but for now we need to create the pattern.

We did a mix of carhawking and foot today. I'm starting to see how the towhee operates: it heads for the nearest shrubbery, and doesn't usually sneak out the other side, so I can kick it out. Industrial parks have these long lines of boxwoods or whatever up against the side of the buildings, and you can walk down the line kicking until the quarry pops out the end. However, the next set of shrubbery is usually pretty close, and the sharpy wasn't able to catch up.

In the midst of hauling through some stuff I entered a cloud of skunk odor and backed out fast. There was no skunk, but one had recently sprayed the bushes I was walking through, so my pants ended up smelling like burning rubber, and not the fun kind of burning rubber...good thing hawks don't have a sense of smell.

We kept cruising (and stinking) and got a few more slips. I hold his jesses a bit more loosely now; I'm in the learning stage in terms of seeing quarry, and I've muffed slips because of it. I don't want him to feel discouraged, so I hold him tight only when we're between likely areas.

I've loosed him at robins before, and they're pretty nasty little guys. They're aggressive, and yesterday they stooped him hard in tag-team fashion even when he'd landed on the roof with his human just a foot or two away.

Today, he got revenge, and beautifully.

The robin was freezing on the grass about 40 feet away. He studied the situation a moment, and flew out rising to about 25 feet -- then did a vertical stoop worthy of any peregrine. Totally faked out the robin -- it didn't know what hit him. They fought, I plunged in there, broke its neck, pinned it down, and immediately stopped all motion.

The musket started plucking within 10 seconds, and I knew he must be getting to a good weight. As with Tuesday's towhee he was much more forgiving of my right hand and showed no glove aggression. We had a brief, displeased spin when I did something (forget what, but I know it was my fault), but he recovered quickly and resumed eating.

He got a very good gorge and right now he's looking highly content, eyes half closed and occasionally pushing stuff into his pannel.

And I'm hoping all that skunk spray will wash out. I think my runners are destined for the trash, though.

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