Monday, August 11, 2008

towhee two

Slowly but surely Curly seems to be getting more consistent. At this point, if I lost him, I'm sure he'd be fine taking care of himself. We hunted this one off the glove, and he was at 83.5 gm. The towee simply wouldn't leave the area -- wise, because the shrubbery had nothing but airspace around it. We chased that guy through three sets of bushes, getting four short but intense flights. Finally, getting to the end of the line, the towee tried to dive over and back in, but the sharpy nailed it.

I think this brings us to catch #10, not counting an unknown possible kill he may have done the time I lost him overnight. His first catch was 23 days ago. Two towhees, a robin, a killdeer, and the rest English sparrows. I'm not usually a counter -- I have no clue how many crows, and have forgotten how many CTs and jacks I've taken over the years -- but the sharpy is all my own creation, and thus a little bit special.

K1 calls this month the trial by fire, and so far I've gotten hot but not burnt. I'm trying to find other birds in hawkable situations. There are marshy areas where one can find blackbirds, but they've been directed into lengthy canals. As I'm sure I've said many times before, SF Bay mud is like quicksand, only a little slower -- you cross only in places that are clearly passable, or risk getting sucked down to your waist. But these crossings might be a mile apart or more, so if the sharpy catches a sparrow on the opposite bank, I'm going to lose him for sure, hopefully temporarily. The starlings seem scattered, though I think this time of year they should be flocking for ripening fruit. Maybe it's a little later on.

But I have no complaints if he's getting towhees and robins.

Illegalities aside, that is. Only the English sparrow/house sparrow is legal. This is the mire the microhawker faces constantly: small raptors don't consult the Audubon Guide to know what they're allowed to go after. If I heedlessly kept going after sparrows, permanent loss is just a matter of time because of his carrying. I need to go after a slightly larger bird. Doves, though they're ethereally beautiful and damn tasty, are just too big for him. Starlings are legal if depredating crops, but here we only grow industrial parks and shopping malls. So I'm stuck having to take songbirds.

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