Monday, December 29, 2008

a decent meet

Got to see a goshawk chase a jack, and the pigeon derby ("pigeon derby" NOT "sky trials," meaning a pigeon might die) was fun. (As it was, Hanford has added 10 new healthy pigeons to its population, one for each entrant in the contest.)

I didn't catch as many as I expected, but it was a new place for me and I didn't know where to find slips. Country crows are much more car-shy than suburbia/industrial crows -- they get on the wing much earlier, too early for the HH.

I had a chance to see how old friends were doing and got to know some faces better. I'm total crap when it comes to faces/names and hawks flown when given in a 3-minute conversation, but when you kick back and hang out for a while I absorb much more. Old faces became friends.

Yes, she did come to me, not as completely I would have wished, but the possibility of a future with her looks a bit more real. And at the same time I'm less saddened by the idea of a future without her.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

off to the CGA meet

I'll be here tomorrow until Sunday. Thrills, spills, and in between, plenty of boredom. That's the way all falconry meets are. But it's a chance to see friends you only see at a meet, see other birds fly, and talk about hawks, falcons, and killing furry and feathery items. The weather outlooks seems promisingly warm for the central valley in winter -- highs of 45-50 for the next few days.

It'll probably be a great place to ditch the 45 pounds of Christmas candy currently in my possession... ;)

I'll probably bring the computer. It's always a handy item these days, especially for finding restaurants in a place you have no clue about.

And I hope she'll come to me...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

not sure if i believe it

blog readability test

seeing seven pounds

I went into this movie not knowing anything about the plot. About 60 minutes later, I still didn't know anything about the plot. I was somewhere between still curious, weary from trying to figure out why, and bored because I was just waiting for the answer. It only pulls it all together in the last half hour.

But when it pulled together it hit me harder than expected. Will Smith's character is bestowing gifts to seven people he decides are deserving of a better life. (This is to make up for seven people whose lives he took through cavalier use of a Blackberry while driving.) He deeds his remote beach house to a woman who's getting stalked and beaten up by her boyfriend, bone marrow to a cancer-stricken boy. His final donation, by way of his own suicide, is his heart, to a woman with heart disease, with whom he has cautiously fallen in love.

The donation bit was what made this movie hard for me to watch. The mate needed a pair of lungs and didn't get them in time. We didn't need a guilt-stricken suicidal engineer, it could have been anyone. If only, though, if only.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Unlike the last sparrow to get lost in the garage, this one had the smarts to escape.

Monday, December 15, 2008

feeling stupid

Some friends and I are going trapping after Christmas, so I put out a trap for some bait birds. I don't want to catch one now, so I left the door open. Blaine's traps have a rubber flap as a safety seal in addition to the door, but I didn't prop that open.

I set it out this morning and didn't bother checking the trap until well after dark. Frankly, I'm not even sure why I did -- having assumed a sparrow could get out easily enough by pushing the flap -- but some microgram of responsibility sent me outside.

Inside was one damp, miserable whitecrowned. Poor guy. I took him to the garage and started looking for a box so he'd be a bit warmer and definitely drier overnight. I'd let him loose in the morning.

Naturally, while I was distracted with poking around the shelves with a bird in my hand, he got loose. Flew around the garage confusedly. Sigh. Well, he will be a bit warmer and definitely drier. I'll leave the back door open tomorrow.

Friday, December 05, 2008

bye bye RT

Well, she still wasn't eating by this morning. I don't know if I've just forgotten how long it takes for a redtail to tame down, or if I'm just a lot less patient about it than I used to be. I just wasn't happy with the amount of progress we had made. She didn't eat until I left her alone with a chunk of meat. She was pretty hungry and eventually I was able to pick her up and she continued eating there, but after less than 3 oz she got wary and starey again.

All RTs are good birds, but some just aren't worth the time. I'm pretty sure all of my RTs ate on the glove within 4 days, and stopped doing the full flare-up within that time as well.

So... I hooded her, drove back to where I trapped her, and let her go.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

redtail slow (like snail slow, but faster)

She's coming along as well as can be expected. She's down to 1152 grams and hasn't eaten yet. This is normal; I'm guessing she will probably eat by Friday. Redtails are durable hawks and have very good metabolisms. The manning hasn't progressed as rapidly as it should. I used to take a few days off after trapping a new bird; this time I haven't, so she still flares up and stares at me, open-mouthed. I've probably been slowing down the process by giving her water. She would probably eat sooner if I didn't -- redtails get most of their water from prey, and rarely drink.

Still, she's been calming more quickly as time goes on. Like my favorite tiercel RT she also seems to like being scritched on the breast.

I made a new hood for her -- I had just one female hood, and it was so squashed, stretched, and floppy it was hard to put on. The new one is the same size, just a pinch taller, but half a pinch too tall. It will do, though. RTs are durable.

And I think she's probably a small-medium female. There's a lot of size variation and I won't really know more until she eats, but even if it was 1000 that would still be considerably bigger than your average tiercel.