"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.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oct. 26 - Rebel-tiki-tavi


We didn't fly on Monday as it was rainy and my bird was hog fat.  On Tuesday though, it was game on again.  He was down to 37.4 a little lower than I wanted but looked good and gamey.  I didn't have that much time to hunt as I had been at work already, but I decided we would hunt the yard and try for another quail.  We made a few passes around the yard but none of the evil vermin were showing themselves.  Rebel was changing low perches when he did an about face and slammed into the ground!  He looked like a one of those glider wrecks you see on YouTube.  I ran over and found him with a small garden snake in his talons, munching away. 

The snake was a little over one foot long, and he looked like he had done this before.  By the time I walked up, he had bitten off the head and the rest was still wriggling.  He swallowed the rest still wriggling!  It was wild to watch his crop moving around while he ate!

We made a few more passes around the lots with no squirrels daring to show themselves.  I decided it was time to fly the quail.  Rebel was perfectly positioned in a pine tree and i released the quail in his sight.  The bird flew immediately and Rebel literally missed it by inches!!  And it was right in front of me!  Such a cool stoop and chase but that quail was just too fast and I didn't want to stack the deck by pulling any primaries.  I wish I had now but oh well.

Rebel was a little pissed after missing that bird.  He flew back and went right back to the perch he was on almost asking me to give him another chance.  Too funny!  I walked towards the rear of the lot to see if we couldn't scare up a last tree rat, when once again, Rebel swung down and hit the ground.  Now sometimes he does this because he is hungry or frustrated and just wants a tidbit.  He thinks if he flies to the ground near me, I will tidbit him for a jump up which was part of our early training.  Not so much this time.  Nope, this time I turned to find a two foot water moccasin in his talons, whipping its tail against the ground!

Once again, Rebel bent down swiftly and dispatched the head which was securely in his grasp.  he then played around with the snake, eating bits and tossing it around.  I wasn't sure what was going on but I started to believe that Rebel didn’t like the taste of poisonous snakes.  After watching him for five minutes play with something that I know he could have eaten in five seconds if he had wanted it, I called him to the glove and put him up in a big live oak in the front of the house.

I decided this was the perfect time to do a blind lure call to make sure he identified the whistle.  I walked around the garage and pulled out the lure and whistled.  He hit it like a freight train.  He is definitely well wed to the lure now which gives a little more piece of mind.

What a great bird!  Two snakes in one day!

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