"Falconry is not a hobby or an amusement: it is a rage. You eat it and drink it, sleep it and think it. You tremble to write of it, even in recollection. It is, as King James the First remarked, an extreme stirrer of passions." T.H. White

The Godstone and Blackymor, 1959 (First American Edition) Van Rees Press, New York, page 18.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nov. 16 - Soaring

Pretty cool things today.  Had a fat bird again and I really wanted to work on fist response so we decided to just walk the yard and the vacant lots.  Rebel has terrorized the squirrels around here so now whenever they hear his bells, they bolt into the closest knothole faster than a fool loses his money on payday.  I figured he may chase a few but I really just wanted to put him on a few of his old creance perches and see how well he would respond to the fist.

We set out and he started out really well.  He was coming to the glove and following just like he used to.  He saw a squirrel up in the cedar and gave chase.  He crashed through the branches twice just barely missing the little bugger.  He chased it into the maple in the back and then it reversed course and jumped over the porch railing heading back to the cedar.  Rebel was in hot pursuit and flew right through the wrought iron railings around the porch!  I thought he was going to get clotheslined, but he folded in and glided right through never taking his eyes off the offending varmint.  Can't be more than six inches between the vertical bars...  I have to admit I was a tad envious, I can't even squeeze through the walkway in my kitchen if there is someone else in there...  Seriously though, I do not think that I will ever tire of watching this bird fly...

So he ended up losing that guy in the live oaks and he decided he would like to get up into a high  perch.  Uh Oh.  I pretty much know that when he gets up to the top of a tree he doesn't like to come down easily.  His favorite perch is the tip top of a pine tree.  He grasps a talonful of pine needles and just floats there.  Well, this did not jive with my plan of working on fist response, so I tried to call him down before he got settled.  No luck.  He just flew into a tree in the neighbor's yard.  Now I don't like him to get outside of our little zone too much so I decided that if he wouldn't come I would walk away and he would just have to follow.  He never likes his meal tray (me) to get too far out of sight.

It was a really windy day and overcast.  I walked all the way over to the far lot but he didn't move.  He was digging just swaying in the wind at the tip top of a pine.  I headed over towards the garage and was about to pull out the lure when I looked up to see a gorgeous bird of prey soaring through the winds above me.  It took me a few seconds to realize that it was Rebel.  Now coming to me he had the wind at his back and he was high above the trees.  He came across fast and turned into the wind to head back to me.  The wind was so strong that he just sat there hovering in front of me gliding back and forth and keeping himself aloft.  He was totally loving it.  It reminded me of times kayaking in college where we would surf a haystack in an eddy current for what felt like hours before falling off downstream.  The eddy current would almost allow us to stay still while the water would rush on by us.  Well that was what Rebel was doing.  It was glorious.  I called out to Laura who caught the tail end of it as Rebel ducked into a nearby tree, clearly anticipating his lure feeding.

He got a nice fat crop and I got a nice grin on my face after watching that one.  I just wish that I had had a camera.  These young birds are not supposed to be soarers yet...

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