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jeffandheidi
06-17-2014, 09:28 AM
It's that time again, and thanks to the encouragement of my family and friends, we ended up with another eyas shin in my hands. It's a little early to ID the sex, but I'm kind of hoping for a female. These two were about 4 or 5 days old in the pic, they really are the same size, the camera angle must have blown one up a little. Let the fun begin!
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/00E0CA79-A365-4380-812A-56E9E49FCF57.jpg

Huntndad1
06-17-2014, 10:18 AM
Nice! Congrats man!

Flight
06-17-2014, 11:51 AM
Very cool!

I look forward to reading your exploits this coming season, sharpshins piqued my interest a while back, but I decided that I wasn't experienced enough to handle all the potential problems that they can incur.

I hope you will share your experiences and observations with this cool little accipiter!

Dennis Samnee
06-17-2014, 12:57 PM
Jeff,
Congrats ,
I thought about another one.Glad
you did
It again! Maybe I will get to see it fly if you make it over near St. Louis.
Dennis Samnee

awleaphart
06-17-2014, 02:39 PM
Man your a lucky fellow. Best of luck. Nice looking bird.
Anthony

Red-tail71
06-17-2014, 07:08 PM
Congrats Jeff! Good luck and have fun!

Chris L.
06-18-2014, 11:54 PM
Thats awesome Jeff, Congrats!

How long had you been scouting the nest?

jeffandheidi
06-19-2014, 12:24 AM
Thanks everyone, this will be a fun summer!

Still twig feeding but she also pics up the random tidbit on her own. Nothing special, just a rapid growth update. I'll try to upload a new pic every few days just to show how incredibly fast they change.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/8625ce20-d78b-49b4-b23b-ef77b65d53c4.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/ED360ABE-274A-49A0-812B-EB10478A17EE.jpg

Chris, we met up with the Indiana boys last weekend. They had already scouted the nests before leaves were out, and fortunately they were still active.

jeffandheidi
06-20-2014, 12:10 PM
Growing like crazy. She is self feeding pretty efficiently, using a starling wing as a food plate. The wing pins are getting long and just starting to open. If she isn't eating or preening, she's asleep. All the time.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/8797BC79-9C77-443F-8113-621841D6574B.jpg

jeffandheidi
06-24-2014, 09:26 AM
Lots of time in the car this weekend, and lots of people around her, playing with her feet, etc. She has food with her all day but really only eats a few tidbits every few hours, even in the morning she doesn't take a full crop. She goes through about two starlings a day.

If anyone lies their hand flat on her box she will waddle over and lie down on it. Fun stage!
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/22A8DB0E-E9BC-4058-8626-F4728490D00F.jpg

Last night she climbed completely out of the box onto my wife's hand and went to sleep.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/126744DB-E183-4BEA-9E3C-E670789909E1.jpg

jeffandheidi
06-25-2014, 09:53 AM
She is changing daily, and has someone's hands on her constantly. Her appetite has dropped off a little. Yesterday she only ate about 1 1/2 starling.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-06/4F13E6A2-7270-46CD-8793-FCAF250937E2.jpg

JeffNH
06-25-2014, 10:09 AM
That is so cool...looking forward to this thread.

Tanner
06-25-2014, 11:11 AM
Hi Jeff - out of curiosity, is there not a decent nesting population of shins in Missouri?



Chris, we met up with the Indiana boys last weekend. They had already scouted the nests before leaves were out, and fortunately they were still active.

jeffandheidi
06-25-2014, 04:49 PM
I'm sure there are several nests across the state, but shins are on Missouris list of excluded eyas birds.

The past three winters we have had an adult female shin catching Juncos off our backyard bird feeder. Fun to watch!

jeffandheidi
06-26-2014, 09:12 AM
Standing tall, I will be putting jesses on this afternoon. About 16 days old today.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-06/6B13F7B2-CD90-49B6-AB6C-0B09260A8112.jpg

Flight
06-26-2014, 09:28 AM
Looking good Jeff!

Looking forward to seeing how you train this bird as it progresses!

jeffandheidi
06-26-2014, 03:37 PM
I tried to organize photo bucket and must have moved the wrong pictures. Oops!
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C0C98B68-6C57-4A9D-92CE-3015EA83FBCC.jpg

jeffandheidi
06-26-2014, 11:20 PM
Jesses went on with no problem, I am using traditional jesses and put the two holes in the ankle end 1.25 inches apart. I know her tarsi will grow some more, but for now it's a good fit and won't slide over her narrow toes. I also introduced the bath pan today, she bit at the water a little and drank some before climbing out and sitting in the grass.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-06/8EC96940-D73C-4E87-8588-270927FB4674.jpg

vlp
06-27-2014, 12:18 AM
Jeff
Glad to see you get one again. I had so much fun with mine last season I pulled another one this year also. Good luck!

jeffandheidi
06-27-2014, 01:03 AM
Thank you Vincent! Did you pull a male or female?

jeffandheidi
06-28-2014, 02:31 PM
Major branching activity last night and today. I have attached a weighted leash anytime we go outside but so far all she does is stand and flap and hop. It's just a matter of time before she surprises us both by getting some air, and I want to be sure she doesn't go far!

This morning I took her out back, let her sun on the ground for a few minutes, and once she stood up and started panting I filled a glass pie plate with water and started splashing my fingers. It just took her a few seconds to hop in, drink and bathe. This is my first attempt at posting a video clip ..
http://youtu.be/F0X6pJgqdEU

jeffandheidi
06-28-2014, 02:46 PM
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/5FBB71C0-9CB3-4499-B9E6-18BAC820DEF8.jpg

HGlider
06-28-2014, 05:53 PM
Major branching activity last night and today. I have attached a weighted leash anytime we go outside but so far all she does is stand and flap and hop. It's just a matter of time before she surprises us both by getting some air, and I want to be sure she doesn't go far!

This morning I took her out back, let her sun on the ground for a few minutes, and once she stood up and started panting I filled a glass pie plate with water and started splashing my fingers. It just took her a few seconds to hop in, drink and bathe. This is my first attempt at posting a video clip ..
http://youtu.be/F0X6pJgqdEU
Boy at the last half of the video she was splashing up a storm. Neighbors don't complain?

jeffandheidi
06-28-2014, 06:54 PM
Ha, John I don't know how that happened. Butterfly effect? I need more practice with uploading videos to YouTube.

The second video was an early morning storm that ended up damaging several trees and homes nearby on June 4. Once it passed I went out to check on my redtail, she was in the corner with a foot pulled up and completely dry.

Breeze
06-28-2014, 10:43 PM
WAY cool, Jeff! Look forward to following this thread! Thanks for taking time to share with all of us!

jeffandheidi
06-30-2014, 07:30 PM
More changes, same routine. She still sits on her haunches a lot but is standing more and balances well, even in a moving car, so we are getting there. About 20 days old.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/41D051FD-3835-4FAD-BFA0-B021DE267EAB.jpg

jeffandheidi
07-04-2014, 11:24 PM
Happy 4th of July! She has been growing at an amazing rate, and is on someone's lap almost all the time. I started tethering the other day, and she has hardly bated.

I was a little worried about how the neighborhood fireworks would go over, but she slept on my lap out back until it was dark, when I brought her inside to her perch she took a bath and started preening.

No baggies yet, but my traps are out so it won't be long before fresh sparrow is on the menu.

A couple pics from today:

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/B8247647-1DF3-4A70-99BD-D7C5896E96F8.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/59FE1C69-B7A6-461C-92CE-C85AC655EB86.jpg

Huntndad1
07-04-2014, 11:45 PM
Looking good Jeff. Amazing how fast those little pocket rockets grow!

jeffandheidi
07-06-2014, 11:45 AM
She is tearing scored starling and sparrow carcasses and feeding herself all she wants three times a day now. Also bathing at least twice a day. By this time last year with Spaz I was introducing baggies, but with no hunger there was really no interest, and I expect the same level of motivation now, so with this bird I'm holding off on baggies until closer to her being hard penned. Still easy stuff, lots of socialization with a lot of people.

This morning after she had eaten and bathed I attached her weighted leash to let her explore a little. She flew up to a chair, the table and went to sleep for an hour.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/EA89BD3D-A6FA-465D-B69C-4EEF1E75B3E0.jpg

jeffandheidi
07-07-2014, 02:15 PM
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/58190BA0-7774-4D73-904F-2D5AFF37DE41.jpg

I've been picking her up on my hand a few times a day, this afternoon I carried her out in the sun and got this pic. You can see the primaries are still growing. About 28 days old.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/41F6160B-9321-42E2-A5C8-7F00B933DBB7.jpg

lxlMurdoclxl
07-07-2014, 11:04 PM
Love checking this thread daily, thanks jeff

jeffandheidi
07-08-2014, 11:09 AM
Thanks Josh, she's a lot of fun so far and we aren't even hawking yet.

In the past day or so she has finally learned to hold food down and twist off a hunk with her beak. Before she would nibble and pull. Over and over and over. Also she has slowly been getting more vocal. Most of the time it's peeping with a closed beak but today it was a little louder. I know it's coming.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/A388EE03-6D9D-4298-AC8D-E7B814A4F0CE.jpg

This morning there was a female cardinal and a sparrow in the trap. I guess the cardinal thought she would try out some pop corn also. The sparrow was our first ever Baggie, even though I said I planned to wait, here was the opportunity so I took it. I called her twice to the lure about 3-4 feet, and she walked over for a bite. I sat next to her, scooped her up to my knee and tossed the restrained sparrow a few feet away. She bobbed her head, flew/hopped over next to it with her wings out and mouth open, then jumped on with both feet. I guess we will start doing baggies with this bird everyday after all!

vlp
07-10-2014, 09:36 PM
Thank you Vincent! Did you pull a male or female?

Ended up with both. (Other falconer not able to fly his this year - work issues came up )Doing the dual imprint and will be flying both (at different times). Have lots of house sparrows and starlings around. Flew a hen sharpie before and had a great season. Hoping for another great season with them.

jeffandheidi
07-12-2014, 03:27 PM
Vincent, that sounds exciting. I would be interested in your thoughts later on about how they compare in personality, handling, hunting, etc.

So far I've been able to offer her 5 sparrow baggies and she has quickly bound to each of them. The last one was released only about 15 feet away and she quickly left the fist to fly/hop/run after it. The third tail stripe is just below the coverts, so I'm thinking she will pen around next weekend. Until then she is getting two training and feeding sessions per day ending with as much fresh starling carcass as she cares to eat. So far the vocalizations are at a minimum also, except or just before mealtimes.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/96C25B8E-DA81-4802-9166-85BD5A7AEAA5.jpg

jeffandheidi
07-14-2014, 12:34 PM
I've noticed some small personality changes that I'm just attributing to her growth and metabolism changes. The trash truck goes by twice a week, but today she bated away from it. Folding towels in the living room last night also had her slicked down. Just a couple examples of things that she is suddenly aware of. A little weight reduction in a week or so will help I think.

I've started weighing her just to get a starting point. This morning she started at 177g. After our morning session she was at 192g. She eats so very slowly from an opened starling, but as long as she's still on it I leave her alone.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/CEBDEED0-7634-463B-93D1-4C86D1C262ED.jpg

Yesterday was overcast, during our afternoon session the sun came out and she turned around to sun for a moment.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/0F0AC879-EB64-47AB-8FD3-F1604FF39199.jpg

Breeze
07-15-2014, 05:18 PM
Totally love and enjoy your thread, Jeff! Keep it going!

jeffandheidi
07-17-2014, 08:42 AM
Thanks Deb, so far everything has been easy and predictable. I really like this bird. She isn't penned yet but in a few days she will be and we will start cutting weight then. I've been weighing her a couple times a day just for the practice, but so far the numbers don't mean much. She is usually around 175 ish grams in the morning and 195 ish grams full.

We have been doing sparrow baggies twice a day this week and she has taken two out if the air about twenty feet away. It's pretty cool. The first few I let her kill and eat before offering the lure, but lately once she's settled down a bit and about to start plucking I offer the lure and recycle the sparrow to be caught again later. With no weight control yet I know she isn't really hungry.

A pic from this morning:

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/6A4DB0C9-DBA2-434C-BDBB-A9FE69335889.jpg

One more.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/6EB4903A-0C52-4D37-BA77-504DCE743EF6.jpg

hcmcelroy
07-17-2014, 10:46 AM
Jeff,

The tail looks perfecto! She must be on a quality diet. Response to training is excellent, congratulations.

I wonder if she can be hunted without weight reduction?

Harry.

mrnewberry
07-17-2014, 11:42 AM
It's all happening so fast.

jeffandheidi
07-17-2014, 12:26 PM
Harry, thank you! That means a lot, especially from you. She had been fed almost 100% starling with some sparrow mixed in as she got older.

I've wondered about how much weight reduction she will need, if any. Last year I put a male sharpy in the field too soon, he wouldn't come to the lure near dusk and ended up spending the night out and was killed by another predator. Honestly I'm getting pretty nervous with this bird because I know we are getting closer to hunting and I hate the risks we have to deal with.

Her personality is excellent with me and other people. The location we train doesn't seem to matter to her as long as there isn't a lawn mower or big dog anywhere around. She hates those. After we got home this morning I was getting her full weight and she decided to lie down.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/07E18FAA-1F85-4DAC-AE91-D4895D9823D7.jpg

jeffandheidi
07-18-2014, 12:18 PM
This morning didn't work out so great but ended ok. I've decided to start controlling her weight a gram or so at a time for the next day or so until I'm sure she's penned.

She came to the lure three times slowly but wasn't too distracted so, so far so good. I had set up a sparrow baggie in a small shoebox about 20 feet away. When I pulled the string to open the box it rolled on its side toward us (20 feet away!) and she squeaked and bated away. It took her a few seconds before she shook her tail and relaxed her belly feathers. Even when I walked toward the tethered sparrow she wasn't going for it. I got it back in the box and decided to just finish with a large reward in the lure.

She had just hopped over to the lure and started pulling on the starling breast, then she looked over behind me and started cacking, and bated again as a squeaky 10-speed rolled by about 50 feet away. Thankfully I had her creance in my hand and she didn't go anywhere. It turned out that my quiet high school back parking lot is also the Friday morning meeting place for seniors citizens on bikes. One lady was friendly and offered to move to a different parking lot but I told her it was fine. It didn't take long before my bird was eating off the lure as they made their laps, passing about 30 feet away. So everything ended on a positive side.

I think starting tomorrow I will make our morning sessions all about feeding a small amount in order to make a specific afternoon weight and save the baggies for then also.

Here's a pic from this morning, this guy was really working hard to make that bike work for him.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/980E980E-8325-4449-BA01-676229E9B974.jpg

timgpp
07-25-2014, 04:34 AM
Any updates?
Tim

460shooter
07-25-2014, 09:57 AM
This thread is awesome! I started a thread "first sharpie nest" this week, and have been reading / studying / following this thread to get a head start on what to expect when I get mine in a few days (If all goes well, and the eggs hatch). I see that you stated you flew a hen earlier, and had a great season. Are the hens capable of taking doves and pigeons? If so, I think I may try to pick out a hen when I pull mine. If that is expecting too much from the hen, I'll go with the musket and chase sparrows and starlings.

Either way, I'm very excited to get my hands on my first sharpie. Thanks again for the thread!!!

jeffandheidi
07-25-2014, 12:16 PM
Hi Tim, we are still here but don't really have much new stuff to report.

She penned about 3 days ago and we have been dropping weight and increasing baggie and lure distance. Last night at 170 grams she was distracted by everything. I set her on a retaining wall to try for a 30 foot lure call, she bobbed her head then flew half way to me and started footing a chunk of mulch, flipped it up with her beak, then hopped/flew the rest of the way to the lure. We ended with a sparrow on a long line, she flew after it but not in a hurry, and bound to it as soon as it reached the end of its line about 30 feet away.

I've been using Harry's 22 hour weight control with this bird also and its working well so far. I'm trying to eliminate or minimize the amount I feed her in the morning, and use a 10pm fed weight to make target weight the next afternoon.

Around 9pm she gets a little bouncy but if I pick her up or lie down near the perch she stops. In fact if anyone lies down near her perch at any time she still hops onto our chest or back and lies down like a little chicken. It's pretty funny. My daughters have named her Ruby, after the character on Once Upon a Time.

Paul, that's awesome! Congratulations and good luck with your bird!! I don't have much experience with sharp shins, but you'll definitely want to have a few sparrow traps out now and more birds than you think you'll need already in the freezer. Before she penned we were going through about 2 and a half starlings a day, the growth was amazing.

My plan with this bird is to mainly fly starlings and field sparrows, soon I hope! Pigeons are too big for me to attempt with her, doves maybe out the car window? Please do keep a thread when you get your bird, I would love to compare.

Last night:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/8c725e37-eeac-48c9-bd75-21bb8380400a.jpg

Also last night on her baggie with my lovely assistant. Notice that the birds mouth is still open. She mantled and screamed for a few moments before plucking and eating, not that hungry yet.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/BCBAE8D7-E4F1-4F37-8F7E-A8271AA86DC8.jpg

460shooter
07-25-2014, 03:05 PM
Thanks Jeff! Yeah I've been stocking the freezer already. I was planning on a coopers out of a nest that was less than 100 yards from our house, but the nest died. So I was going to hold on to the frozen birds in hopes of trapping a passage coopers, or a passage female gos later this fall. But when I stumbled across the sharpie nest at our property this past Monday, I knew I was just going to HAVE to get one!

I set the sparrow trap out not ten minutes ago at the local tree farm. I stopped counting last year when I caught the 100th sparrow in that trap, and it took less than one month to catch that many. He has a lot of them out there, and I didn't even seem to put a dent in the population.

I will certainly be keeping in touch. We have enough doves here that a hen sharpie may be a good idea. Either way, there are tons of sparrows and starlings, so a musket would fit in just as easily.

Might I ask why you picked a hen, or was it just luck of the draw?

mainefalconer
07-25-2014, 04:09 PM
Paul,

(if I may) - my two cents about choosing a sex to fly in sharpshins is that you shouldn't really think about it. In my estimation, the most important thing in choosing an imprint 'shin is to get it EARLY. Since you can't determine sex when they are the "right" age to take, you just pull a bird and fly what you get. I suppose if you're really hung up on flying a certain sex for whatever reason, you could climb the tree, take samples from each chick and color mark them, send the samples of to the lab, and then climb again after the results are in, and take the chick that you want, but since they take such similar prey species (and pigeons/doves aren't really a solid option anyway) it shouldn't really matter what sex you fly. At least that's the way I see it. That aside... I'm stunned to hear that you've got a nest with eggs still in it? Are you sure the nest didn't fail, and the eggs are dead? Are they still being incubated? It's awful late in the year for shins to be hatching and trying to make a go of it before all of their prey starts to fly south.

OATS
07-25-2014, 04:17 PM
Great thread. Scott, earlier in the thread he mentioned the female was on the nest when he approached it. She jumped off and was defensive.

460shooter
07-25-2014, 05:31 PM
Thanks for the thoughts Scott. I am new to sharpies, so I don't know what their capabilities are. That's why I was asking about the dove/pigeons. If they are outside the realm of reasonable quarry for females, then yeah, male or female won't matter to me at all.

Like Eric stated, in an earlier post, I mentioned the parents screaming at me, and yes, the female actually leaving the nest also. I stood and watched them as they got real close to me since I have never been very close to shapshins in my life. Not even as falconry birds. I've never witnessed them in action at all in any of my 18 years of falconry. I've only seen fleeting glimpses of them in the wild. That's why I just stood there and watched them for several minutes, and just took it all in. I knew I was close to a nest, but I took the opportunity to just watch them, and enjoy them. I found the nest, but that doesn't mean anything till I actually have an eyas in hand. I'm trying not to get my hopes up cause I know it could all go south like the coopers nest I found right by the house. But I'm hopeful none the less, and would sure like the chance to experience flying a sharpie.

I am just as surprised as anyone else that this nest is here. I figured those eggs better be hatching quickly if the chicks are going to have any chance at all to survive migration. But hey, who am I to tell a sharpie to not lay eggs!:D

I will certainly give an update as soon as we check the nest here in a few days.

Sorry Jeff. Didn't mean to hijack your thread...

Tanner
07-25-2014, 05:59 PM
Wild sharpies kill a lot of mourning doves. Just sayin.

PeteJ
07-25-2014, 06:09 PM
Wild sharpies kill a lot of mourning doves. Just sayin.
And I've had a few pigeons caught by wild Sharpies in my backyard, albeit they have some difficulty holding them. Just saying...

broken feather
07-25-2014, 06:10 PM
shin + Doves = firsts

jeffandheidi
07-25-2014, 07:02 PM
I love the discussions, this is what Nafex is all about.

The high school I teach at has a resident flock of wild pigeons nesting on the roof and drain gutters. One day a male coopers grabbed one outside my window on the sidewalk, and we watched them fight it out for several minutes before the coop finally won and hauled it about 15 feet under some bushes. It was all that coopers could do to hang on while the pigeon flipped them over again and again, half the time the hawk was on the bottom.

I know in a hawking scenario the falconer would be right there to decide the winner, but sharpie legs and toes are so thin and spindly it seems an unnecessary risk to me, especially considering the unlimited field sparrows and starlings around.

460shooter
07-25-2014, 07:34 PM
I know in a hawking scenario the falconer would be right there to decide the winner, but sharpie legs and toes are so thin and spindly it seems an unnecessary risk to me, especially considering the unlimited field sparrows and starlings around.

Agreed. I think I'll just pull one out of the nest, and see what I get. Sparrows and starlings are obviously going to be the majority of what is pursued, so male or female won't matter there. I may try the occasional dove if I end up with a female, but its not going to be a big disappointment if I get a male. Afterall, it is my first opportunity at a sharpie, so WHO CARES!!! I just want to get my hands ON one!

Thanks Pete for the comment about mourning doves and sharpies. We have the larger Eurasian Collared Doves around here for the most part. They aren't exactly as big as a pigeon, but they are certainly larger than the mourning doves. If I get a female, I'll give them a shot, but only after some success with sparrows and starlings.

PeteJ
07-25-2014, 10:30 PM
Agreed. I think I'll just pull one out of the nest, and see what I get. Sparrows and starlings are obviously going to be the majority of what is pursued, so male or female won't matter there. I may try the occasional dove if I end up with a female, but its not going to be a big disappointment if I get a male. Afterall, it is my first opportunity at a sharpie, so WHO CARES!!! I just want to get my hands ON one!

Thanks Pete for the comment about mourning doves and sharpies. We have the larger Eurasian Collared Doves around here for the most part. They aren't exactly as big as a pigeon, but they are certainly larger than the mourning doves. If I get a female, I'll give them a shot, but only after some success with sparrows and starlings.
As with any eyas its a matter of building confidence over time. If you can bag her on a few over the next 3-4 months, then just let it simmer until a wild opportunity arises. You'll see that she'll give it a whirl. In general, the one thing you can say about Accipiters is...they're game! But I'm with you, no need to beat them up if it isn't necessary. The reality is, larger is usually just that..larger. The flights are rarely superior and the real wow factor with Sharpies is on very quick and nimble quarry. They will knock your socks off in that area. And while I was enticed to try quail with the one I had, it was either too easy (if the slip was the right distance), too frustrating (if the slip was too close), or no good at all if too far. But on other smaller quarries in the right habitat type....even if she missed it was not a big deal because you still had to lift your jaw off the ground.

460shooter
07-26-2014, 12:05 AM
Thanks Pete. That's the kind of stuff I wanted to hear. All based on confidence. I think I'll just pull one, assuming they hatch, and see what I get. If its a female, I'll bag her on a few doves and see what happens. If she doesn't like them, no big deal.

jeffandheidi
07-27-2014, 11:41 AM
I think we are at a plateau in our training until I can get her weight lower. She has been coming down about two grams, hold that weight for a second day, then two grams lower and so on. I'm starting to wonder if it's too slow and I should drop her 3 or 4 grams at a time instead. Any thoughts??

Two days ago on her baggie she was still plucking when a jogger and his dog passed by about 200 yards away and she tried to carry. She wasn't able to get more than a foot away but it's loud and clear how hungry she isn't!

Last night at 170g her lure response was still slow, and when she did come it was a gliding, butterfly type of flight. There was rain coming in so I didn't offer her a baggie yesterday. She should be at 168g today, I'm hoping for more focus.

460shooter
07-27-2014, 03:07 PM
Good stuff Jeff. I know that fat on passage / adult birds can be hard to get through, so I imagine it would be the same for the little eyas. Heat of the summer doesn't help either...

pj_elia
07-27-2014, 09:26 PM
I think we are at a plateau in our training until I can get her weight lower. She has been coming down about two grams, hold that weight for a second day, then two grams lower and so on. I'm starting to wonder if it's too slow and I should drop her 3 or 4 grams at a time instead. Any thoughts??

Two days ago on her baggie she was still plucking when a jogger and his dog passed by about 200 yards away and she tried to carry. She wasn't able to get more than a foot away but it's loud and clear how hungry she isn't!

Last night at 170g her lure response was still slow, and when she did come it was a gliding, butterfly type of flight. There was rain coming in so I didn't offer her a baggie yesterday. She should be at 168g today, I'm hoping for more focus.

Jeff,

I worked my female down to 155g for a day and she was good on the lure but still not chasing on slips but behavior was pretty good. The next day at 158G she became scared to death of me. The last few days I've just tossed her food on the perch. She acts like a freshly caught passage. My brother's sharpy is has no fear and they were raised and trained together. I thought bringing her weight down would have prevented this fear reaction that some imprints go through but it didn't with this bird. This is the best reason for a hack but I can't risk it with the coopers that live around here and I also found that hacked sharpies catch game very early, sometimes on their first day a hack before being hard penned. This has led to more than a few overnight outings. I think you should just keep going at your pace. There is no rush. Some birds are ready to hunt sooner. They mature at different rates. My female last year was catching game at this stage. No need to force the issue yet with faster weight loss. Good luck with her..

jeffandheidi
07-28-2014, 03:39 PM
Thanks Paul and Paul. I wish I could blame the heat for the slow drop, but it's just me being very gentle with her. I've been keeping her on a perch in the living room with constant activity and temperature, even outside we've had a very mild summer with high temps mostly in the 80s or low 90s.

Paul, that's weird that your bird was fearful. How long have you been hawking with her? I hope she gets her head on straight soon and you guys are out again soon. I agree about not wanting to hack a sharpshin, there are coopers in abundance out here also. I wouldn't be surprised at all to hear about a young shin becoming self sufficient while out at hack.

My Ruby was only a gram lower yesterday, even though I fed three grams less the night before. At a friends house with his kids running around we had great and instant lure response at a distance of around 20 feet. She still takes a few seconds to mantle and scream on the lure but otherwise her manners are ok and she is easy to pick up once she's eaten her bite.

We set up a sparrow baggie about 50 feet away, which she launched after immediately and caught in the air before it reached the end of its line, but she tried to keep flying with it until the creance brought them down about 15 feet later. Then she took another 5 minutes to pluck and scream before breaking in and eating. Once she was eating she folded her wings, and transferred easily to the lure so that was all good. I know we are getting closer, but 168 grams still seems plenty high for a female sharpie and I'm hesitant to cut the line.

jeffandheidi
07-28-2014, 09:47 PM
This bird doesn't lose weight easily. She was only a gram and a half lower this evening. I suppose with such a small bird it's better to be a little high instead of low, but geez. Slow progress.

This time I planted a tethered sparrow baggie in a field I hope to hunt this fall. The weeds are about knee high and it's near an intersection with lots of noisy distractions. She did great, the crunchy tall grass didn't bother her at all, I walked around the edge and set her on a branch just above my head. It took her a bit to turn around and see the lure 20 feet away but once she did she was on her way and followed it down into the grass and let me pick her up again with no problem. Back on another tree branch and another smooth but slow lure call.

I spent a few minutes walking in a circle and moving toward our baggie. For some reason the sparrow went straight up and kind of hovered about 10 feet above the ground and Ruby quickly bound to it and tried again to carry it off to the nearest tree, reached the end of her creance and circled back landing almost at my feet. I'm pretty sure that was a coincidence but it was still pretty convenient. Every other baggie she has caught has been in ankle high grass or shorter and I expected her to try to carry again but once she hit the ground she stuck there.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/D445902B-186E-49A1-8ECE-21F9E6D2C3B5.jpg

I gave her a second to break in and pushed down a section of the tall grass. She looked around and decided the back if my hand looked good and hopped over with her now opened sparrow.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/6C3329AE-FA75-4D29-AFEF-4E0A064A027B.jpg

Just as she finished her sparrow, three fire trucks went screaming by about a quarter mile away. She tried to look but I think the grass was too tall and she finished on the lure with no problem.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/9A1F3494-3EF6-402F-8BF7-48685DA1D13B.jpg

We are on the right track, it's just taking a longer time to get there than I hoped.

Huntndad1
07-28-2014, 11:58 PM
Looking good Jeff!

jeffandheidi
07-30-2014, 01:22 PM
Thanks Lee!


The past two sparrow bags have been caught in the air beautifully. She leaves my hand immediately, flies in and catches them from below. Then she uses the remainder of her creance (about 10 feet) to try to keep flying with them. Once she is on the ground she stays there, and if she catches on the ground she stays there. Lure response is still slow. She isn't turning her back or trying to go somewhere else, just not in any hurry to come down to me. I'm still looking for that weight that gives us a combination of good response and good manners. 167g last night.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/376230DD-2544-462A-9C89-60FE6DDE64F1.jpg

460shooter
07-30-2014, 01:34 PM
Awesome!! I can't get enough of this thread! Anxious to get mine out of the nest tomorrow, and see where this road leads...

jeffandheidi
08-04-2014, 02:46 PM
I've been afraid to take the next step without a creance mainly because of the way things worked out with my male last year. This afternoon she will be at 160 grams and we are taking that step with our first free flight.

The past 4 days we have had nearly perfect mock hunt training sessions at 162 grams, she was still lying down on the lure and screaming so yesterday I had her at 161 and she was perfect.

The first lure call I set her on a branch and as I was backing away she landed on my head. I had my daughter hold her about 50 feet away and she was on her way before the lure had hit the ground. We walked around a large field with a few other lure calls which went fine, then finished with a sparrow bag 30 feet away which she caught out of the air and dropped straight down with. She still mantles some but I let her pluck for a few minutes and then offered a lure which she stepped quickly to and fed up.

Fingers crossed!

Huntndad1
08-04-2014, 02:53 PM
Always a leap of faith with these birds. Hoping all goes well Jeff.

jeffandheidi
08-05-2014, 12:54 AM
Success. We couldn't find any good flights from the car. Starlings were down near busy roads but I didn't risk it. We ended up walking a large field far from any trees. She chased two larks and a dove but didn't get close. Each time when she broke off the chase she turned around and flew back to me and landed on the ground a few feet away. Once she flew about 50 yards to a lone tree, but came straight down to the lure. On the way back to the car another lark flushed, she flew about ten feet, turned around and landed in front of me. I had a sparrow in the car, and decided it was time to walk back. She flew ahead again and this time grabbed something on the ground, just kind of glided in to it and caught a fledgling miscellaneous bird. By the time I had her leashed she had already broken in, so I carefully traded her the lure and fed up there.

160 grams is a good weight for tomorrow but we still need to keep coming down. She rode in the car perfectly, and came down to the lure instantly from about 40 feet in a tree, but her manners on food are still not where they need to be.

Also, this field borders a treeline that had an active rt nest this year. We were carefully observed by a nice sized passage redtail that has little fear of people. Mike, (wgtail) let me know when you're ready. :)

460shooter
08-05-2014, 09:48 AM
Congrats Jeff! Little prey for little hawks still counts!! :D

Breeze
08-05-2014, 01:11 PM
Way to go, Jeff! HUGE Congrats!!

jeffandheidi
08-05-2014, 11:04 PM
I learned three important things today...

Putting on a leg mount transmitter is a two person job.
Ruby will bate aggressively at her reflection in the side window of my van.
I need a GoPro.


We took the same circuit around a college campus and industrial park this afternoon and had almost identical results. She rides in the car fine, enjoying the ride. The few starlings we saw this time were all either up on wires or along the shoulder of a busy road.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/6F984E4B-7222-4984-8C1A-9F60DEB553C3.jpg

Once we started walking the field from yesterday her energy changed, it was surprising. She stood tall the whole time, balancing on the tips of her talons many times. She had a couple flights at sparrows but they were flushing too far ahead for her to have much of a chance before they dove into cover.
An adult lark flushed near my feet and she was off. They covered about 40 feet in a blink before it dumped into tall grass. Ruby lost it and landed on the ground nearby, as soon as she was down it reflushed and she was right behind it again. I thought she was going to catch it this time, she was so close. It dove into the grass again, she landed on the ground again and it flushed again. This time it was able to pull ahead and she turned around landing beside me. The whole flight probably lasted less than 5 seconds, it was amazing! I had never seen a lark flight in person before, it dove into the ground with impressive speed and had to have hit the ground with considerable force.

I scooped her up and started toward some waist high cover. There were some small sapling trees near one edge and she was standing tall looking ahead. She took off before I saw what she was chasing, it was another young miscellaneous bird about 40 yards away that she caught in the air and dropped down. This one was larger and fighting back but by the time I got to her it was already dead. Again she was mantling and more worried about me than in eating so she is clearly too heavy. She still transferred easily to the lure and fed up. When I picked her and the lure up together she was a little possessive and bit my thumb a few times and mantled over my hand.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/042E7517-61D1-4308-BBC8-A0848786D9F5.jpg

I am going to leave this field alone for a while. I'm impressed with her determination and that she gets the game we are playing, but flying down fledgling birds isn't falconry and I don't want her to get into that routine.

460shooter
08-06-2014, 07:14 AM
Nice job Jeff! Sure enjoy your outings, and I can't wait to get my little female going. We can't be but a month away from doing some hawking ourselves!!

jeffandheidi
08-07-2014, 12:27 AM
Bad weather today, so no hawking. I fed her on the lure in the basement and she was a complete Butthead. She flew down to it and then took almost 20 minutes to eat the 23 grams attached. Once the meat was gone she still flipped it over several times, tried to drag it around and mantled and screamed over her shoulder at me. She isn't aggressive around the perch, but has gotten a little sticky footed when I weigh her in another room, trying to drag my thumb along with her.
She should be down to 158g tomorrow. There are more storms forecast but I'm hoping for a chance to fly her, and want to get out of the problem zone ASAP.

BestBeagler
08-07-2014, 09:59 AM
Bad weather today, so no hawking. I fed her on the lure in the basement and she was a complete Butthead. She flew down to it and then took almost 20 minutes to eat the 23 grams attached. Once the meat was gone she still flipped it over several times, tried to drag it around and mantled and screamed over her shoulder at me. She isn't aggressive around the perch, but has gotten a little sticky footed when I weigh her in another room, trying to drag my thumb along with her.
She should be down to 158g tomorrow. There are more storms forecast but I'm hoping for a chance to fly her, and want to get out of the problem zone ASAP.

Sometimes I think the problem zone is an age thing. Let me share my ONE experience with my male imprint sharpie. I finger fed the bugger from day complete food association he trusted me implicitly and he killed many hand tossed sparrows in a big room. I never really touched his weight if I remember right. I just let him do his thing in the confines of a big room. At first he never carried and every time he killed I would leave him alone not approach him till I could tell he was ready (at first he was didn't care if I approached right from the beginning then I had to be more careful) I always used the same pickup method with him. He caught, I would dispatch it or he would, I would let him break in then I would offer a whole plucked enticing sparrow on the glove. He would always drag the kill to me and trade off as sweet as could be. So this continued wonderfully with no weight reduction. Then one day he just started carrying, weight wasn't any different, same situation, same methods used. One day he just didn't trust me it was very strange. Playing with the weight, lowering it, didn't help and I didn't like what I was seeing. So I went the route of treating him like I would a passage bird that likes to carry. I continued the same process got him excited about eating and showing him the plucked sparrow he came around after awhile but he carried with the best of them for awhile (all in the big room I didn't trust him on wild game with his attitude on carrying) soon he was back to his old self same weight maybe higher no carrying except carrying to me for the whole sparrow. He trusted me again and saw me as a good guy and protection, he did this at first to carrying his kill to me using me as cover snuggling up so to speak. Then we started hunting, no weight reduction. I took a different road than most. I was a one slip, one flight, and one kill. If he missed I always called him to the glove to a whole sparrow and called it a day. I was able to fly him with no weight reduction for the most part and it was a pure joy the funnest day's I have ever had. The flights I saw were amazing he hunted like a wild bird. Amazing long flights (sharpies aren't supposed to do that) and we really bonded. He always came back because he knew he would get a good meal and he hunted hard and had amazing flights because that's what sharpies are hard wired to do (simple uncomplicated creatures its what makes them a joy)

So with this thing about carrying, I have had a good talk with a friend of mine about it we think they are hardwired to carry it's apart of their survival technique it's hard to break and it seemed almost that despite all the positive reinforcement and creating amazing foundations for not carrying it happens anyway (a simple creature so hardwired can't help it) so once he hit that stage I had to rebuild (easy to do because the foundation was there) the trust and get him to overcome his instinct.

Just my thoughts and I loved the results I had so much I would almost consider raising a gos the same way (maybe even a coops, don't know about that one yet :-) )

I just wanted to share. I'm enjoying the thread.

jeffandheidi
08-07-2014, 12:41 PM
Thanks for sharing, Isaac. I'm going to be very selective with where and when I can fly. My area has a lot of medium sized fields that are loaded with small birds, and all surrounded by dense woods. As a result there are coopers and great horned owls always nearby. Even when we don't see one, they are there. The other day I was feeding up on the lure and we could hear a great horned probably within a half mile. Just reminding us he was there. Ruby will bate off her perch a few times in the evening around 9pm then she tucks her head and goes to sleep until I weigh her at 10pm and feed a gram or two to make a target weight the next day. Spaz, the male from last year had to go into his box at dusk everyday, he just wouldn't sit still. When walking toward the giant hood I had to keep my body between him and the box or he would bate toward it, he wanted in! Just another example of hard wired hide at dusk behavior I guess.

BestBeagler
08-07-2014, 12:56 PM
Thanks for sharing, Isaac. I'm going to be very selective with where and when I can fly. My area has a lot of medium sized fields that are loaded with small birds, and all surrounded by dense woods. As a result there are coopers and great horned owls always nearby. Even when we don't see one, they are there. The other day I was feeding up on the lure and we could hear a great horned probably within a half mile. Just reminding us he was there. Ruby will bate off her perch a few times in the evening around 9pm then she tucks her head and goes to sleep until I weigh her at 10pm and feed a gram or two to make a target weight the next day. Spaz, the male from last year had to go into his box at dusk everyday, he just wouldn't sit still. When walking toward the giant hood I had to keep my body between him and the box or he would bate toward it, he wanted in! Just another example of hard wired hide at dusk behavior I guess.

Yes, my male was the same way come evening he wanted to go into his giant hood. Looking back I think I would have tethered him up when much younger maybe (I don't know). I found a way that worked for both of us.

jeffandheidi
08-08-2014, 12:49 PM
159 grams last night. We had quite a bit of rain over the past 24 hours and there were some big flocks of starlings down. The first flight was at a group of around 20 in short grass, the were bouncing all around each other and being noisy. Ruby went after them pumping hard but they saw her right away and took off. She got confused, changed targets a couple times and then just landed in the grass footing a clump of dirt. I scooped her up, drove for a while more and found another smaller group in a ditch. This time she stared at them for a few minutes before trying, but she didn't let go of my thumb, they scattered and she didn't go anywhere. I think she thought I held her back, she had the angry accipiter pose for a few minutes so I pulled into a parking spot and just waited until she was calm.

We drove a while more to another empty parking lot, found one starling near a couple doves, she flew hard again but tried for the farthest dove, missed of course, and ended up chasing some sparrows around the top of a big tree. I dropped the lure and she came straight down. Nice!

It was getting late so I decided to head back over to the area where she blew her chances before, but on the way saw a big group if sparrows on the ground near some bushes behind another empty lot. She was out the window faster than I expected, missed two on the ground, and caught one near the base of a small tree. The instant acceleration and 90 degree turns these birds can do just doesn't seem possible. It's incredible!! I didn't see the catch, but I could tell she had one because of the far away look in her eye, just as I stepped out of the car she went straight up into the tree, about 3 feet out of my reach. She sat there with it in one foot looking at me and the lure for maybe 3 minutes before the sparrow struggled and she dropped down in front of me. I leashed her up, backed off a few feet while she plucked, then traded her the lure and fed up while getting some strange looks from people driving by.

I think I will bring her down another gram or two and see how she acts, she's hunting very hard but still didn't want to stay in the ground with that bird.

No pictures this time, my adrenaline was too high!

460shooter
08-08-2014, 02:09 PM
WHEW!! Man I HATE when little birds carry! Makes me nervous, as it does everyone else I'm sure.

Glad ya got another kill, and your bird back!! Like my sponsor told me years ago...

"Its always a good day if ya come home with your bird."

Huntndad1
08-08-2014, 02:39 PM
Looks like your doing a good job with her Jeff! clapp

jeffandheidi
08-08-2014, 10:28 PM
We had a short and successful hunt today. The only starlings we saw were pretty far in a field but I let her try anyway, they saw her quickly and she didn't really have a chance. I scooped her up and drive to a nearby, new field that looked promising.

We had walked about 50 yards when a large field bird took off and she was right behind it. She closed the distance very quickly and it tried once to outmaneuver her but it didn't matter, she was faster. This one was too big to carry and I think she appreciated me a little more today. She happily transferred to the lure and fed up. We will try again for starlings tomorrow. I really, really like this bird!http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/71C5BBC3-DBC0-44EF-8629-DFB04147CB79.jpg

Leather
08-08-2014, 10:42 PM
Alright Jeff!!! Donít blink and let the jaw dropping begin

jeffandheidi
08-09-2014, 09:03 AM
Thanks Eric! You're welcome to come anytime, let me know when you're free.

Breeze
08-09-2014, 10:10 AM
Sounds awesome, Jeff! ENJOY!!

Leather
08-09-2014, 11:10 AM
Jeff,
Hey man, sounds good Ė I would like that, Oh just an FYI, the MFA picnic is Sept. 15th
Hope to meet up with you soon and keep up the good work

jeffandheidi
08-09-2014, 08:36 PM
Thanks man, I'll do my best to make it.

Not much exercise this evening. 158 grams. She had another starling flight, it was another big group and by the time she picked one out they had already taken off. She tried hard but it wasn't happening and she turned back toward the car, based on a pole and I called her to the lure. She is still a little possessive on the ground but improving. I am also waiting until she has stepped away from the lure and is looking elsewhere, sometimes this takes a while but at least I know she can't feel robbed or rushed. Carrying smaller kills is a big concern for me.

We walked into the same field as yesterday and within probably five minutes a bird was up, tried to outclimb her, and we were done. This time she was slower to step on the lure, and still wanted to protect it. In fact once she was some and stepped off, I reached down to scoop her up, she bit my finger and ran back over to mantle over an empty lure. That tells me I screwed up sometime in the past and have taught her to be this way in addition to still being a little above hunting weight. Oh well, it is what it is. Hopefully daily kills will smooth us out. And another half gram or so lower by Tuesday.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C9E452A8-4567-4090-9315-04A37838A8F7.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/507D3529-DDDF-4B99-A8D8-E0355F8F9D13.jpg

460shooter
08-10-2014, 12:55 AM
Keep going Jeff!!:D I have my first sharpy, and we watch for your updates every evening! I can't wait to see mine doing the flights you are describing! What a joy that must be!!!

From what I have read, these sharpies are usually pretty forgiving, and hunting / killing usually makes everything ok. I don't have any experience with this statement yet, but I have read it in a couple places, and it has been told to me by a few guys who are MUCH more experienced with accipiters than I am.

GREAT JOB!!!

jeffandheidi
08-10-2014, 10:53 PM
Thanks Paul! I'm glad your enjoying the thread. It's fun to share the experience, and it's also nice to look back at how things change over a season. I'm looking forward to your sharpie thread as well! :)

No kill today but we had some great flights. 157 grams.

The past few days when we were successful have been mostly overcast, today was clear sunny and warm. There were 0 starlings seen which was disappointing. I tried walking the same field again but the few birds we saw were flushing 50+ yards away. Ruby finally gave one a shot but it was so far ahead she didn't have much of a chance and made a wide U turn back to me and landed on my head.

After about 45 minutes I gave up and got back in the car to try some sparrow flocks. There are a few buildings on a side road that has too much traffic during the week to fly, but on a Sunday afternoon there was nobody around but the birds. The sparrows were smart and stayed in the dense boxwood bushes and Bradford pear trees. She eventually grabbed a dead leaf at the top of a tree and brought it down to tear apart.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/E44640B6-783A-49D1-AC5B-98926FA012A3.jpg

I let her figure out that it wasn't anything special, and got her back on my hand. We kicked the bushes a few more times before she chased another one around the tree and I lost sight of her.

Here's how I found her, there wasn't anything under there but she was certain that there was. The gap between the boards was about three inches wide, she isn't stuck. I gave her a minute or so to inspect the pallet and we moved on.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C173F61F-4E84-499D-9C26-D03B1EEBEC99.jpg

Another sparrow flight went out over a tall corn field. Before I lost sight of her she was on its tail, I was glad she missed that one, it could have turned into a telemetry chase. I had to walk about 15 feet into the cornstalks before I heard her calling. She was on the ground flapping/hopping back toward me. Pretty cool.

We drove around for another 15 minutes or so, didn't see anything else down so we went back to the flock which was now starting to roost in the trees. I wasn't sure what she would do so I got out of the car, threw a small rock into the tree and she went in after them. She missed, and I called her down to the lure to feed up.

She is still hanging onto my hand tightly after I picked her up. One of her misses she was hanging off the side of a bush with her tail jammed down. I'm sure she didn't have a hold of anything, but for several minutes after picking her up she was mantling over my hand and holding on really tight. Also on the lure she is still wanting to mantle after the food is gone, and bites at my fingers even after she has stepped off the lure. I've also been feeding her the 10pm top-off on the lure by flashlight. She comes down quickly and when the flashlight is turned off she is easy to pick up in the dark.

Huntndad1
08-10-2014, 11:19 PM
Lol I love the ostrich pic Jeff!! That is pretty awsome to have her calling for you too! haill Keep the posts coming.

460shooter
08-10-2014, 11:38 PM
That ostrich picture is the best!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

cvandermerwe
08-11-2014, 12:53 AM
That picture makes me really happy they are small birds. If they could take a human we would all be screwed.

Love your thread!

Breeze
08-11-2014, 11:19 AM
Loving this thread, Jeff! WHAT fun you are having with your bird! Awesome!

jeffandheidi
08-13-2014, 09:11 AM
Haha, thanks. It was pretty funny watching her run around that pallet so sure there was a bird underneath. When she finally settled down I picked her up and slipped it over just to be sure.

The past two days we haven't caught anything. Monday was open house at my daughters school so we just fed up with a few flashlight lure calls in the basement. Yesterday she was at 157g. The college campus was very busy with people and their dogs so I didn't even try there.

I showed her one large flock of starlings on the ground, which would have been easy for an experienced bird, but Ruby just watched them for a few seconds, then tried to chase once they had taken off.

Our small industrial park has a few fields I hadn't walked yet, and Ruby chased a robin that she saw about 75 yards away into the woods. Wild Cooper's hawks are a big concern for me, and as I got to the edge if the woods I started swinging the lure. She came back instantly, bound to the lure in the air and tried to fly off with it. I'm still seeing some possessive/aggressive stuff with her. Even when the meat was gone and she had stepped back, as I reached in behind her to scoop her up she bound to my bare hand and mantled over it for the walk back to the car. I've never fed her with my bare hands or on the fist. She is so tiny it doesn't hurt but the attitude bothers me.

We drove a short distance to another field farther from the woods and started walking. It was sunny and warm again all day, and field birds were hard to find, she had a couple good chases but they flushed so far ahead that by the time she got up they were at their full speed and she turned back to me. Her advantage is definitely to catch birds on the rise.

Light was fading by now so I started walking back toward the car when we saw some doves going down near the edge of the field. She bobbed her head and was off, I swore and then took off after her. Of course the doves were long gone, I found her in a large puddle taking a serious bath, splashing and rolling around. We were done. Back at the car I leashed her and had a couple lure calls with the same possessive/aggressive behavior. Will try again today.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/E8D2C63A-0F5D-42EC-AD46-D396BB59C0CB_1.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/AEFC0629-E6F5-4025-8B85-91B32BA03184.jpg

460shooter
08-13-2014, 09:57 AM
Well bummer!! I guess all days can't be good days. But you did go home with your bird, so that's a good day...

jeffandheidi
08-14-2014, 11:10 AM
Very true, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a micro hawk besides not catching something.

We finally got our first starling yesterday and compared to hunting field sparrows, car hawking with a sharpie may be easier, but isn't nearly as exciting. There just isn't room for her to reach full speed and there isn't much maneuvering.

They were at the edge of an empty parking lot in the grass and she waited until they saw her before she went after one. It only escaped by flattening itself into the grass at the last second, she got back up and chased a short distance and then came back to land of top of the car.

I was turning out of the parking lot, preparing to go walk a field when I noticed the same flock of starlings dropping back down into a ditch less than 50 yards away! I pulled a quick Uturn, she popped out the window and caught one 20 feet away with its head in the grass. Thankfully she had caught it by the back of the head and had it pinned where it couldn't bite or jab at her with that nasty beak. I ended the fight, let her pluck for a minute and then offered the lure. I'm sure we will still take starlings out the car window but I'm going to save those for days when we are just pressed for time, or if the weather is less than desirable for walking fields.

Just getting started:

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C9FEBC2E-AC90-419D-B930-418CFD00DD1D.jpg

On the lure again:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/a0ea34c2-cf49-47b6-9fc4-e41710ad0157.jpg

Sleeping after the evening bath:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/ad9a48fb-0b3d-44f8-aef8-261822c19a8d.jpg

jeffandheidi
08-15-2014, 05:00 PM
No hawking today, it's already starting to rain and we had family plans anyway.

Last night she had some very good chases, one after a sparrow that went deep into a blackberry/poison ivy island near the edge of a field. Just before she went in it looked like she was upside down, maybe it was just my eyes. In the open she is very fast for about 20-30 yards then she turns around and comes back to me or simply lands and waits for me to pick her up. Around cover she can maneuver and change direction faster than my eyes can focus. I need a GoPro.

Half of my most heavily populated field has been brush hogged down to almost bare dirt. I thought that might mean the remaining half would be full of birds, but it was almost empty instead. We had a total of 3 very good chases, and 2 rookie, baby hawk, what the heck are you doing kind of flights, once at a killdeer in a parking lot over 100 yards away and another at who knows what.

I pushed the hunt further into dusk than I think I ever will again. I kept hoping for one more flight. While she was feeding up on the lure I heard a gho in the woods nearby and saw one (maybe the same one?) on a phone pole at the far edge of our field.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/5BB1DFEB-4AF2-400E-AB8A-B214E65A69C1.jpg

jeffandheidi
08-19-2014, 01:52 PM
Really nothing new going on, just tweaking the weight down and walking fields every day. She still occasionally goes for the birds flushing far away, I'm waiting for her to realize that's a bad idea, because invariably I flush a dozen sparrows at my feet on the way to pick her up. With the recent rain we have also had a major grasshopper hatch, she frequently jumps to the ground at my feet as I kick them up. I have to be careful not to step on her.

Yesterday there was a group of starlings in short grass on the way to our field so I pulled into a parking lot, got her out of the box and attached the transmitter and gave her a shot at them. She went out the window immediately, managed to miss one somehow, chased it under the car, out the other side and came back to land on top of the car.

We hadn't been in the field more than a few minutes when she went on one of her long distance flights. I caught up to her and she was hanging off some cat tails, I think she was trying to catch dragonflies, they were all around us. As I was picking her off the side of those cat tails some movement caught my eye, the local immature redtail was in a tree about 50 yards away watching her. Scary stuff.

She soon had a sparrow in her feet and while she ate the same redtail flew past us twice from one power pole to another.


The RT had some pretty cool markings on his wings and head, he would have been an easy catch if I'd had a baited BC on hand. When we were back in the car he flew to a nearer pole for a closer look.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/0BA6D6CF-2B1D-4ADF-8849-7E21C0ACEAE9.jpg

She had eaten about half of her sparrow when she noticed him and went into the accipiter statue routine. After about 5 minutes I scooped her up and she finished on the glove.

She held this position for a loong time while staring at the RT.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/F2770AEE-BB83-4401-9924-CF5E5A6A5A03_2.jpg

Breeze
08-19-2014, 02:17 PM
Sounds like a good hunt! Glad everything worked out with the RTH and your girl is fine! :) Enjoying your thread immensely, thanks for posting and sharing with us! amennn

HGlider
08-19-2014, 05:39 PM
Making me want to get a Sharpy again. One of the most fun season I have ever had was with a female imprint. Successful catch rates with those birds is unreal. Maybe next year.

jeffandheidi
08-21-2014, 11:56 PM
Thanks! She is a lot of fun and I feel like we are in a good routine. She has awesome chases almost daily, and although we are still playing with the weight a half gram at a time I think we are pretty close to a good weight for her. 153 grams today.

The weather has messed us up a few times, and property owners have mowed a couple really good bird fields to useless dirt. It's frustrating to drive to a field only to find all the grass and bushes shredded. Oh well.

This summer has been very mild, until today. It was too hot and we only spent about 15 minutes walking before I started feeling it and had to stop. We hadn't seen one bird anyway and I felt like it wouldn't be long before Ruby flew off to some shade anyway.

Yesterday we had one nice flight at a bush full of sparrows, but didn't connect. There had been a thunderstorm in the area that I could hear, when I saw it we had to stop immediately. Good thing too because it was full of lightning and probably gusts around 50mph on the drive home. Before she went into the box I posed her for this shot.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/63D1E354-B688-47BE-8B40-41086A426045.jpg

460shooter
08-22-2014, 12:14 AM
Nice!! Man that looks like the storms we had in southwest Kansas. Had some good twisters there now and then. Sure don't miss those! She is looking really good! I can't wait to get Twiggy going. She is on baggies now, and took her first bath this evening. Hopefully it won't be long now till we are hunting.

jeffandheidi
08-24-2014, 10:56 PM
Today marks day 5 with no kill, and day three without any close chases. The heat is killing us, I've been hunting as late in the day as possible but there just isn't much to see. A friend has been able to switch to morning hunts and has been successful each day, but I managed to overcommit myself to church and youth group stuff and it's not an option for me. I'm stuck with evening hunts whether it's blazing hot or comfortable.

Of the 5 fields in easy driving distance, three have now been brush-hogged, one of the two tall grass fields left has recently become a four-wheeler playground. It might as well have been brush-hogged also.

My daughter and I covered every foot of the last field this evening, ending just after dusk and saw ZERO birds. Ruby did catch two big grasshoppers out of the air and dropped down to eat the first one. The second one she caught in flight and let go on the ground. This summer has been very nice and mild until recently, now it's pretty rough. frus)

Last night and this evening when we finished on the lure she's been a problem. Mantling heavily, and tonight she jumped off the lure to grab my hand when I was leashing her on the ground. I know part of that is weight, and I think part of it has to be not catching anything. Going for a gram lower tomorrow and looking forward to cooler weather and some migrating sparrows to chase. It's been frustrating for us both.

Paul Ward
08-24-2014, 11:36 PM
That's rough, hope the weather and hunting gets better for ya!

460shooter
08-24-2014, 11:54 PM
Man Jeff, that's rough. Fall is already in the air here at 9500' and leaves are already starting to turn colors on some of the trees around here. Noticed it the other day when my wife and I were coming back from taking Twiggy for a drive. I've been watching for sparrows, starlings, and collared doves around here. They are almost non existent during the hottest part of the day, but then are out in full force during the evening. Granted, our heat isn't near what you have cause we don't have the humidity, thank god!!! We have been in the low 90's for the last couple months with only a handful of days hitting high 90 to low 100's.

But still, having no birds to chase sucks if its 50 degrees or 100 degrees.

jeffandheidi
08-25-2014, 01:24 PM
Thanks Paul and Paul. I just re-read my post and realized how negative it sounded. I guess I was still fuming from such a fruitless day.

She is still a great bird and easy to handle at home and in the field. Lately she has preferred my daughters head or arm as a perch instead of me. When we haven't been able to produce game for her she sometimes flies a wide arc from my hand, out over the field, climbing as she goes, then turns around and floats down to someone else in our group. Our problems show up when she is on food or when it starts getting dark. Last night on the way back to the car she kept landing in front of my feet, once she landed on my daughters shoe and started mantled for a few seconds then hopped off. You can see the type of cover in my remaining field, it's a little less than ideal.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/4F3614A8-5417-4F38-8330-51A7C604503B.jpg

I'm going to try another patch this evening and hope for the best. The grass is up to my shoulders so I'm anticipating using telemetry if she goes down after something. Tomorrow is open house at my school so we will get a day off. I'm really ok with skipping a hunting day anyway. :)

Breeze
08-25-2014, 02:43 PM
Hi Jeff! Sorry about issues with heat - that is the pits. Hunting repeatedly when no prey is around wears on falconer and bird.

Starting up soon myself and will have to hunt early a.m. for sure. Heat index in triple digits here. Yes it cools down some in the evening, but by the time it does it's too dark to fly in the woods! Early morning hunting, here we come! Sorry that's not an option for you and your Shin. Here's hoping things cool off and the birds start flying for you!

jeffandheidi
08-25-2014, 11:34 PM
Thanks Deb. It's still summer alright I hope things start to cool down for you guys also. I'm looking forward to bunny hawking again. I miss the cold!

The new field today was a success. We had barely entered the field when a bird got up, Ruby was right on it and they came down together about ten yards away into a patch of poison ivy. I made sure it was properly dispatched, then backed off to let her pluck and settle down. She easily stepped to the lure and then up to the glove to finish eating when the lure was empty. Because of her behavior on the ground lately and the certainty of feather damage it would cause, I've decided to start feeding up on the glove. Today it worked out beautifully.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C03DA7D0-6CAD-42DC-B7E1-CF040E22A0C7.jpg
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/ADA7CA39-8776-467D-ADC6-BC4AB98FDC91.jpg


One thing I'll need to change is her transmitter placement. When hawking alone I've been zip tying her transmitter to part of her jess, only because it's easy to do one handed. Anyway, before I got her into the car she managed to get her toes around the transmitter and thought it was food. I guess. If I can figure out a way to attach it directly to her leg above the jess I think we will be ok again.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/0646BD5E-ABA1-408C-9B77-BA410F13D1E5.jpg

Breeze
08-26-2014, 07:56 AM
Backpack?

jeffandheidi
08-26-2014, 09:21 AM
A backpack would be nice, but a new transmitter is well outside my budget

Tanner
08-26-2014, 10:20 AM
Put it on it's own leather bewit (the kind that stays on the transmitter, not the leg). Zip ties went out in the 80s man!

jeffandheidi
08-29-2014, 01:21 PM
I loved the 80's! She doesn't mind me messing with her feet much, but I've had a hard time getting a bewit or anything around her leg that requires her to hold still for more than a few seconds. Hawking solo is nice sometimes, unless you need an extra pair of hands.

We had to skip a couple days due to weather and my daughters One Direction concert. Glad that's over. Yesterday afternoon we went back to the same field from Monday. She caught at least 3 katydids in flight and spent a few minutes on the ground with each one. I don't think she actually ate any of them, just took them apart and plucked some weeds out of the ground. Fortunately these were always less than 10 feet away and I just stood around while she figured out there was no food reward for catching bugs. Every time she is in tall grass hopping and flapping around I am reminded how much she looks like a harnessed pigeon we have used trapping other raptors. It makes me nervous knowing that we are surely being watched by redtails and coopers every time I walk a field with her.

After one of her bug flights:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/0A581C99-AFF5-4305-95AC-C222D073055A.jpg

After one bug catch, she got back on the glove with one eye closed and kept shaking her head and salivating a little. I think a beetle or something either sprayed her or must have tasted really bad. Lesson learned I hope. She kept shaking her head for another couple minutes so I decided to walk back to the car and expected to feed her on the lure. One bird got up at my feet and she pulled it down just a few feet away. She is getting faster, but still possessive, mantling for a long time and taking her time to eat. It was too big to carry so I let her pluck a bit before sliding the lure in and trading her off.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/8277D0C8-4A4E-4099-A21E-316D5D73A144.jpg

Huntndad1
08-29-2014, 02:14 PM
Jeff!!?? You mean that concert wasn't the "time of your life"?:D

Looks like she's a killing machine! What's her weight now Jeff? Oh yea, how's the big girl doing?

jeffandheidi
08-29-2014, 10:33 PM
Hey Lee, my girls had a great time so that was fun to watch them enjoying themselves.

It rained this afternoon and evening so we couldn't hunt. Will be out again tomorrow morning in a different area. The field we hit the past two times has quite a bit of poison ivy, I managed to get some on both hands and on my neck, part of summer hawking. She's at 153 grams yesterday.

The big girl is molting out well. She still has a few tail feathers to finish growing out, as well as a couple primaries on each side that haven't dropped yet. I need to put an updated picture of her, her chest and belly are a really pretty peachy color. How's your RT?

Huntndad1
08-29-2014, 10:57 PM
Yea, I'm amazed at what my kids can get me to do sometimes. Love knows no bounds for sure. Knowing their happy, well, that's where it's at.

Kitt is almost finished. Tail is completely in just waiting on two secondaries to finish up. Starting to ease her weight down some. These squirrels around here have been taughing us daily. Their time is almost up!!!!

Looking foward to seeing Jez's new dress. Have fun bud!

jeffandheidi
08-31-2014, 09:17 AM
First starling double yesterday. Labor Day weekend plans keep growing, as does the probability of storm, so we went car hawking yesterday AM. Also, I need to stay away from poison ivy for a while, it's driving me crazy.

Both flights were fairly short, caught on the ground, and she had it under control when I got to her. The first was at the edge of a parking lot and I wanted to avoid talking to anyone, so I didn't think about pics. Our second one was more isolated, with nobody really around except for a few geese which she kept her eye on.

I'm pretty sure I won't have a chance to fly this afternoon, but tomorrow morning looks good.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/DF65192E-E713-4BB4-A180-5F39D56B99E6.jpg

jeffandheidi
09-01-2014, 09:35 AM
We made it out early this morning ahead of some rain. She missed the first starling slip, they were on the other side of a group if bushes, she was spotted right away, they got up and she tried to chase them across the parking lot.

The next flock we saw was about 50 yards away from a group of hotels and restaurants. She caught a starling in the air as they took off and she tried to carry it over to a group of small trees. I was surprised she didn't just drop with it. When I got to her she was still trying to get a good grip on it. The starling had one of her tail feathers in its beak and had already broken it about halfway up. I put an end to the struggle, leashed her up and was able to pick her up a few minutes later to finish eating on the glove.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/59C1D8B9-D16E-40BE-ADD6-DDE403722D2D.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/6CBEAD9F-105E-4346-A115-7079256E7E83.jpg

jeffandheidi
09-03-2014, 11:58 AM
We had some heavy rain move through two days ago, and the fields were soaked yesterday. As a result we had ZERO flights after birds, they just weren't there. She did however catch three more large flying bugs, two of them we were near trees and she landed in a branch to tear them apart. At one point some mockingbirds came in to scold her and she chased one through some trees, getting pretty close.

She still comes back to me without needing the lure, even though it sometimes takes her a minute to decided the glove is the place to be. When she is in the trees she still calls some, I wish she would stop because I know there are resident coopers around and she's drawing attention to herself.

My biggest field is the one that was half mowed recently, it's starting to grow back. I don't know if there is going to be enough cover to make it worth walking again but it's encouraging to see. This field has also been discovered by the owners of some saluki-looking dogs. They are enjoying running through the big open space, and screwing up my hunts.

I ended up feeding her on the lure last night. Just by looking at the tail you would never know it was kinked by that starling a couple days ago. Steam helped, and she has apparently been working on it during the day.

jeffandheidi
09-05-2014, 12:00 AM
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/B2B687F1-5086-421E-AB48-75B24BBD3B05.jpg

There's a sparrow under there. We had a shot at starlings out the car window, it was a very large flock and I think she tried to change targets too many times. We walked a small group of small trees and bushes with sparrows darting back and forth. She finally picked one and pulled it down. Her weight is still too high. Looking back over notes and comparing with other sharpy hawkers, I think I've been too slow and gentle with our weight reduction. She mantled for a long time staring at me and didn't really start plucking until after I slid the lure in. Walking back to the car and feeding up on the glove she went into a kind of stupid hawk routine trying to fly to the ground and rolling backward off the glove like a newly trapped hawk. It was really weird when she did it because she had been eating just fine for quite a while then the switch flipped. Weird bird.

The weather is supposed to be much cooler this weekend, hopefully that means better hunts. Today was very hot and humid.

vlp
09-05-2014, 11:31 PM
Jeff.

Same here. Can't wait for the cooler weather. The humidity is rough. I've been wearing shorts to some of the fields even though I know better. I'm enjoying your pics.

jeffandheidi
09-09-2014, 09:16 PM
We have still been hitting the fields daily, but it seems like birds are moving out instead of moving in. Even places that have always at least been good for a flight have been dead. Frustrating!
Instead of sparrows, she has been catching multiple katydids and giant grasshoppers. They are still impressive flights, but not what she's built for! I had stopped wearing a glove except when feeding her up after she missed two close slips by not letting go of the glove.

Yesterday I had her at 147g when we left the house. After a few bug flights she started taking it out on my hand, squeezing and biting.
She was in a bitchy mood
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/6275A669-D4DA-456A-BAC8-22CFA599EE77.jpg

Today she was 148g and much more pleasant to carry around. There were storms on the way so we didn't have a lot of time. We still couldn't find any birds around, except for one sparrow in heavy cover. She had a pretty good flight at it, around a bush, pitched up, dove down and lost it. Here's a pic right after the flight and just before the lightning started. I called her down to feed up on the lure.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/36EA6CEF-4ABB-4500-834F-C938F10EE110.jpg

jeffandheidi
09-14-2014, 12:37 AM
The cold front came through recently and life is GOOD. Starlings have been tough to find later in the day, but other field birds are plentiful and we have been killing one or two daily.

This afternoon we were after sparrows in a small field. She got this one in tall grass, and as I was sliding the lure in to trade off she carried it up to the glove. Not wanting to piss her off I just secured the jesses and let her eat there. Once we got home she took a couple baths and preened for over an hour. Appearance is everything

I've seen more migrant birds this weekend than before, and more soaring hawks while we are in the field. Birds great and small are finally moving.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/B99A65E5-2168-42CF-9B4E-A5DFD9314582.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/CF08D2F4-82BA-4C32-9E95-636B17F71918.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/14F82D35-C010-48C5-8C71-B41575E20E39.jpg

jeffandheidi
09-15-2014, 01:40 PM
Hunting field birds is a blast.

On the way out we had a chance at some starlings on the edge of a parking lot, but she hesitated and they saw her just as she was leaving the car. She boomeranged back to the car on her own, landed on a windshield wiper and went all Kung Fu on her reflection in the windshield. I scooped her up and it took a good 5 minutes for her to settle down and loosen her grip on my hand. I stopped using the glove in the field because she wasn't letting go of it when trying to chase and missed some close slips, never leaving my hand. Instead I use the glove to pick her up off the lure or a kill and it's become her preferred place to eat.

When we made it to the field my daughter and I took opposite sides of some 5 foot bushes, kicking them as we walked. Ruby took turns riding on my hand, her head, back to my head, to my daughters hand and back to me, all on her own. It was pretty cool to see her using us as perches to position herself, arching her neck at the bushes the whole time. Unfortunately nothing flew out this time. We had walked for a while, killed two grasshoppers when finally a bird got up, bailed into the grass right in front of her. It turned out to have just gotten away from her and reflushed a foot away from where she was in the grass as we walked up. Where there is one bird, there are usually others and soon after she had another flush, she flew up underneath it and pulled it down about 15 feet away. This time on the glove she was a little slower to eat after the first half of her ration, mantling, looking around. She would take a few bites, stop for a while and look around again.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/EB0EF7CF-50DF-41D1-837C-9B42E6A6E774.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/fc28753f-bfb1-4ceb-aee8-95f9059b3c01.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/23CFF0A4-01CD-4FE0-95F0-E2255FB9B964.jpg

Huntndad1
09-15-2014, 01:54 PM
Hats off to ya Jeff, looks like she's just part of the family. Hope to try imprinting one day, looks like loads of fun.

Breeze
09-15-2014, 02:22 PM
Sure looks like a lot of fun, Jeff, and obviously your daughter is enjoying this with you! Very nice!

jeffandheidi
09-15-2014, 04:13 PM
Lee - Thanks! Imprinting is a lot of fun, and very rewarding to see your bird grow into a successful hunter. There are some days it's exhausting and going out into the heat after working all day can make it less fun. We are very grateful for the cooler weather and more birds showing up, just in time!

Deb- Thanks, my girls were very involved and helpful when Ruby was a little fluff ball. It's paid off now, anyone can touch her on the wings, back or just carry her around the field. The only things this bird still slicks down for is if there's a big dog around, or if someone is wearing sunglasses. I don't think it's the dark glasses, I think it's seeing her own reflection. I wonder if it's an accipiter thing or just her?

jeffandheidi
09-17-2014, 01:46 PM
She's getting very good at catching single birds, especially if they flush within 20 feet or so. Much farther away and she still tries but usually can't catch up to them. If it flushes at our feet it's over before I can blink!

Yesterday she had a flight at a group of starlings I just couldn't pass up. They were in a ditch splashing around, at least 30 birds dropping in and flying out. Ruby launched after them right as I rolled up, she was spotted right away and even though she was close enough to have caught one I think the big flock threw her off and she just went up to a light pole. Most of the time I don't have to use the lure, she either comes back to the car on her own or down to me once I step out. This time she landed on the ground and ran to me. Funny but scary at the same time, she's so little and we were near a group of big trees, it would be easy for a coops to snatch and grab her. I know I'm a little paranoid.

We walked a field and were done within 10 minutes. Feeding up on the glove back at the car a mocking bird was complaining from a small tree not far away. I turned my back on it and right away it flew over and smacked Ruby on the back, while she was on my hand eating! I tried to position her with my camera ready but it wasn't brave enough for another fly by.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/6AA0CABE-63F6-415C-B77A-9C911C0B4999.jpg

The mocking bird is on a branch in the background, but it's pretty blurry to see.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/27F05437-D1EE-4E3A-882F-AC1834522ABA.jpg

Breeze
09-20-2014, 06:19 PM
Rather brazen mockingbird I'd say!

jeffandheidi
09-23-2014, 01:49 PM
Those mockingbirds are pretty fearless, and vocal! Yesterday we had a kestrel fly over us a couple separate times carrying on. Ruby still does the occasional flight at something waaay (50 yards +) out into the middle of the field and land on the ground. Most of the time she gets back up on her own and flies back to me, but sometimes she just hops around on the ground biting at grass or footing stuff. It always scares me that one of these times there will be a hungry coopers or RT around.

The past few days have been hit or miss with the sparrows. There are either many many birds or none at all. Yesterday she snagged a sparrow in heavy cover and poison ivy. I had to fish her out with the lure, which worked out fine but it was getting dark and I was really afraid she was going to get fed up with me reaching in and carry. Thankfully she has a strong lure bond and finally stepped to the lure and let me pull her out slowly.

There are still plenty of bugs of course, she has progressed from catching them and dropping to the ground, to now catching them and coming back to eat with me. Now if I can get her to do that with small birds we will really be having fun.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/DB0264DC-878C-46CF-A8EA-8F2C4310D0F2.jpg

Finally on a sparrow. I like how she keeps her tail in tight now, I'm not sure what caused her to stop fanning it out on kills.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/92657810-75B6-4E4F-93BC-5BF9C8EBDA25.jpg

jeffandheidi
09-25-2014, 06:46 PM
Until recently I had been hawking in a nice 30 acre field, yesterday it was mowed down to nothing. Bummer! There are still some smaller fields around, today produced some good flights ending with a sparrow in thick, thorny cover.

Two grasshoppers died in the process also, but who's counting? :)

She chased and missed a cardinal, then returned to my head to vent her frustrations.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/258670B3-BD92-450B-A256-629EFC0C1C13.jpg

I used telemetry for only the second time with this bird today. For the same reason. See her?
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/F3F2AC3B-D1DA-4992-A0CA-5B24D0F52D74.jpg

The cover was also very tall and I wish I had been slower and more patient with the transfer now. She was slow to see the lure and even though she didn't try to drag it away or carry, she wasn't happy. Once she saw the meat we were back to normal and finished feeding up on the glove while I walked back to the car.

I think one reason her feathers are still in good shape is from feeding up on the glove. It has caused some sticky footed-ness. Hawking she is either riding on my bare hand or on my head, when the glove comes out she knows it's meal time.

These tiny birds are loads of fun, and a constant source of worry. You get out 100% what you put in. For better or for worse. Accipiters Rule.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/5E22036E-8A2B-4D0C-B2EE-03F6E9F6F843.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/4B2704E8-0F7B-420A-BBAE-1BF9C7C28551.jpg

vlp
09-30-2014, 10:56 PM
Jeff,

Looks like were both hunting similar fields and taking the kids too. Can't get better with such small birds. It has been great to follow your post. On a side note, how are you liking the leg mount transmitter? I had used a tail mount in the past

jeffandheidi
10-01-2014, 08:11 AM
Yeah Vincent, we are really having a great time! For some reason Ruby prefers to ride on my daughters hat instead of mine. Works for me! She currently has poison ivy on both arms, legs and near her eye. I feel horrible for her, it's miserable.

We have had some great hunts the past three days, each ending with a sparrow is thick cover. She had her feet on a dove, but by the time got there she only had a foot full of body feathers. Another day we had a surprise covey of bobwhites flush. She was very close to one, it bailed into some tall grass, she tried to follow it in but overshot and it flew off. Pretty smart! It was over before I could get any words out.

One of her sparrow kills almost went badly, because I was stupid. She had caught a sparrow at the edge of some bushes, and was sitting there plucking. I took a minute to get a picture when she stopped, looked around, and ran into a blackberry bush with it. Crap! It took me a tense five minutes of walking around and peeking inside before I found her. She ran over to the lure when I dropped it, mantled and picked for a while, then came up to the glove when I offered it. She carried the sparrow with her the whole time. By then it was almost completely plucked, she never broke in.

Before running in:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/8B5BE346-70F4-4673-B844-52F88D9A4014.jpg

Safely in the glove. With sparrow.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/3C064D2C-B587-4821-B2AC-6DD964B83EC4.jpg

There's a strong cold front coming through this week. Looking forward to what it brings.

jeffandheidi
10-01-2014, 01:52 PM
Jeff,

On a side note, how are you liking the leg mount transmitter? I had used a tail mount in the past

I would prefer a backpack with this bird, but the leg mount is working out alright. Most of the time I'm by myself, thankfully she is very easy to handle and I've gotten pretty good at attaching the 90's style zip tie with one hand. It's also easy to remove with small clippers in one hand

jeffandheidi
10-01-2014, 10:18 PM
Limited time to hunt today, and had some really good flights but no kill. She still occasionally wastes an opportunity like today, this time she tried to chase a sparrow while still holding onto my hand. Then we had to wait another few minutes while she took it out on a clump of weeds. then the mowers showed up, my last good field has now been mowed down. A buddy and I watched from the car as meadowlarks flushed in front of the tractor like popcorn. There had to be at least two dozen we watched fly off to the woods while I fed her up by the car.

This field has a few big house-sized mounds covered with brush and small trees I hope to still hunt. Otherwise I'm going to be stuck driving 30 minutes to a field instead of the 5 minute drives I have been enjoying. Or car hawking, but it makes me very nervous.

Bye bye field, thanks for the fun:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/D9FDFBA3-0755-44D7-B26D-D7E7CF6C98E5.jpg

Mega bath when we got home:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/875EB19D-8E27-46FA-8A8D-D1EDE8EC3812.jpg

keitht
10-04-2014, 09:56 PM
I had the chance to get out with Jeff today and see his Sharpy fly. She is a very well-mannered bird and feather perfect. We even caught something. A I tried to snap a few pics, which is quite challenging because it's nearly impossible to keep up with these little speed demons. Hopefully I'll get another chance soon.

http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyIV-_zpsdfb2aa2c.jpg?t=1412473163
http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyV-_zpsfa7e4bb1.jpg
http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyI-_zps9d0db7ef.jpg?t=1412473140
http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyIII-5186_zps26a06cbd.jpg?t=1412473154http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyII-5177_zps0f4fb2a1.jpg?t=1412473148

jeffandheidi
10-04-2014, 10:38 PM
Hey Keith, thank you for coming out today, and for sharing these awesome pictures!

It was a good day, we will do it again soon.

Leather
10-05-2014, 11:01 AM
Hey Jeff, sounds like fun, yeah; Keith has skills with that camera for sure
Nice pics

keitht
10-08-2014, 08:54 PM
http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyVIII-5330_zps615d2348.jpg
http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyVIII-_zps1b558509.jpg?t=1412815797

jeffandheidi
10-08-2014, 09:59 PM
We've been on a roll the past week, hunting and catching daily. Some days she easily steps off and we are able to double. Other days she's more possessive and won't step off so I don't push it. We have stopped after a couple short hunts.

Today we met up with Keith again and were able to double on sparrows. The first was caught in some heavy cover. At first she wasn't cooperating but we worked it out and decided to continue. I'm still pulling thorns out of my arm from getting her out of that.

The field we hunted has been mowed down but still has a couple large house-ish sized mounds of dirt that are covered with tall grasses and bushes. Sparrows in these mounds tend to stay in cover instead of flying out in the open. As a result we get to see some sharp maneuvering flights around and into the grass. I can usually tell if she's caught something or not right away, if it' was a miss she worked her way out and came back up to my head or Keith's head. For the second kill we tried to set up a photo opp with me uphill from Keith and some bushes between us. The sparrow she caught must have popped out behind me and she caught it before I could turn to see anything. She sat tight while I attached her leash and stepped over to the glove to feed up.

In the last few weeks I've really noticed her speed and endurance increase. Too much fun!

Thank you Keith for sharing a new set of pictures!

keitht
10-08-2014, 10:54 PM
http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/SharpyX-_zps3c928279.jpghttp://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/Sharpyix-_zps100f6f4a.jpg

jeffandheidi
10-10-2014, 11:25 AM
Thank you again, Keith! I really appreciate you making the drive out to meet up and hunt together.

We've had a LOT of rain over the past few days. I went ahead and walked a small patch of grass and had two good flights before her feathers were wet. One sparrow flew if the open, dumped into tall grass and couldn't be re flushed. The second flight was in heavy cover and made it into a big caterpillar bulldozer. She tries much harder when they are in heavy cover, practically turning herself inside out to get around branches and stuff. I need a go pro!

The plan right now is to keep going for a few weeks until the leaves drop. Coopers are everywhere, yesterday one flew by within 100ft of us and no higher than the nearby power lines. thankfully Ruby was on my hand and not on the ground or on a flight.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/1EDD6A9C-0CAE-4365-9F52-7C934F685878.jpg

460shooter
10-10-2014, 04:42 PM
That's awesome Jeff! Great pictures too Keith!!

Jeff, what weight is she flying at? Mine is at 148g, and doing well. I FINALLY got out of day shift, and have hired enough guys that I can get back to the sharpy. I got shorthanded about 5 weeks ago, and haven't even hunted with the sharpy one time yet! Tonight will be the first true hunt. We have done baggies for most of the last month, but this evening will be the first true hunt... FINALLY!!!

Hope all goes well.

jeffandheidi
10-10-2014, 10:18 PM
Hey Paul, how did she do? Looking forward to good news and more pics of your sharpy.

I have been flying mine at 146 grams the past few times out. She still hunts well and catches sparrows at 148 but her manners are bad, she mantles and lies down on her kill a lot without plucking. At 146 she still mantles but will step over to the lure and hop up to the glove when the lure is empty.

Also, I can't remember if I mentioned this in a previous post, but I have a small hemostat on a long string tied to my hawking bag. If I can't easily get a leash clip through her jesses (tall grass), I'll clamp the hemos onto a jess until she settles down, then get the leash clip on when she's more cooperative. Usually after a few bites from the lure she is fine.

vlp
10-10-2014, 10:25 PM
Jeff

Starting to see the coops too. I just yell a bit and they fly off. Lots of rain here too. Sounds like we're having a similar season. Liking the action pics too

jeffandheidi
10-10-2014, 10:56 PM
Yeah Vincent, we've had a successful season! How long do you plan to keep hawking your sharpy?

vlp
10-10-2014, 11:48 PM
Yeah Vincent, we've had a successful season! How long do you plan to keep hawking your sharpy?

Jeff,

My game plan is to hunt her through October and mid November. I've been at this almost daily since she hard penned in July. I'm planning on going to the NAFA meet this year and am only wanting to bring my Harris. I'll start hunting the Harris in a couple of weeks and will be at it hard with both birds for a while. Thinking of taking a mid season break with sharpie and starting back up in Feb or early March to hit spring birds and starlings with her for a few months until she molts. However, I know myself, I'll probably be at it most all season with her until the molt. Probably in for a very long season but that's how it goes when you pull an eyass in June. But as the saying goes "best laid plans of mice and men" Do you have a specific game plan? I know when I hunted my Merlin for three seasons a few years back the passage coops were merciless and everywhere late Jan and Feb out my way.

jeffandheidi
10-11-2014, 09:32 AM
My plans are very similar, except I can't make it to NAFA. I have a second year RT and have been bringing her weight down while a couple feathers finish growing. Mostly we've just been doing jump ups in the back yard, but with this cooler weather I think we can start progressing a little faster. There's not much of a chance that I could fly both daily into November. Having said that I know it's going to be tough to put the sharpy up when she has become so successful. As you said, the best laid plans..

460shooter
10-11-2014, 09:57 AM
I started the molt last night! Put my little sharpy under lights, but will continue hawking with her pretty hard till she drops the first feather, then I will reign in the hawking a little bit. Probably still go a couple times a week, but till then, I'm hoping for every day.

Yesterdays hunt was a success only in that I came home with a bird! :-) I don't want to hijack Jeff's thread (Think I came close a couple times already. Sorry!!), but thanks for asking.

jeffandheidi
10-11-2014, 01:23 PM
Sounds good Paul, I really like that we are able to compare notes like this. Good luck again today. Are you going to use a full spectrum reptile type light bulb over her perch or just keeping her room light switch on over night?

460shooter
10-11-2014, 04:03 PM
Probably just keep the light on overnight. Thought about the full spectrum light, but I did the 24 hour molt several years ago with a ferrug that I had, and everything seemed to go just fine. The thought has been in my mind of a full spectrum light, but unless I can find a reason that she needs it, I'll probably just leave the regular light on.

You ever done anything with the 24 hour molt?

jeffandheidi
10-11-2014, 08:25 PM
First time for me, will probably do the same as you, keeping her in a high traffic family area. I still haven't decided if I'm going to feed her on the perch or lure in a different room. We will see.

We caught another sparrow today after several misses or refused flights. I couldnt figure out why, some were wide open and others were in tall weeds. One sparrow flew across the open grass to a small tree, Ruby tried to grab it off the branch and chased it back into a rose bush where it escaped. Great flight!

The one she caught was trying to escape by dumping to the ground in tall weeds and saplings. She still took her time to pluck and stop lying down on it, so tomorrow I will have her a half gram lower. Cool and windy today.

Oh yeah, she also caught a shroom.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/876448F2-B663-4499-BFF5-A103D013D512.jpg

460shooter
10-11-2014, 09:12 PM
Don't worry about the shroom, mine caught a piece of dog crap...

Huntndad1
10-11-2014, 10:16 PM
Hey Jeff I'm curious, didn't you have to bag her on shrooms to get her to go after them?:Dpeacee

jeffandheidi
10-12-2014, 10:32 AM
Don't worry about the shroom, mine caught a piece of dog crap...

Oh man, that sucks! Please tell me she didn't try to tear it apart!

jeffandheidi
10-12-2014, 10:35 AM
Hey Jeff I'm curious, didn't you have to bag her on shrooms to get her to go after them?:Dpeacee

Haha, not at all! She just knew somehow... Does that give support to the stoner theory that if it comes from nature it must be good for us? Ha.

460shooter
10-12-2014, 02:59 PM
Oh man, that sucks! Please tell me she didn't try to tear it apart!

Well, she "killed it", then took one bite, then stepped off very easily! Hasn't happened again!confusedd:D

keitht
10-12-2014, 03:22 PM
Hey Jeff I'm curious, didn't you have to bag her on shrooms to get her to go after them?:Dpeacee

No bagging necessary. However, she missed the first two she chased.

jeffandheidi
10-12-2014, 09:05 PM
It's a learning curve, and we are in America where everyone gets a trophy for just showing up.

Doubled on sparrows today. We are expecting heavy rain again tomorrow, hoping to get out again by Wednesday. Lots of birds in the field today. I even managed to get a poor quality video of one catch.

http://youtu.be/4daHhgAW4Mw

jeffandheidi
10-12-2014, 09:19 PM
a couple pics from today

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C17E5E17-6ABD-4F18-857C-B92FB24D2F16.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C2AE7947-4782-4CF4-B753-D1B1784C8F26.jpg

vlp
10-12-2014, 10:01 PM
Jeff. Thanks for posting video. It's exactly how my hunts are sometimes . It's cool to see how were having the same experiences a few states away. Talked to another sharpie flier who put his up today. He's putting it under lights to start a molt for spring season. Are you thinking the light route?

jeffandheidi
10-13-2014, 01:22 PM
I think so. Right now she is on the living room floor and does very well. I would like to continue flying her for a couple more weeks before we stop, she is on such a roll putting on some incredible flights every time we go out.


Example: early in the season when something flushed she would just explode off my hand and chase whatever she was after flapping crazily until she caught it or not. Lately when she leaves my hand she just jumps off but keeps her wings in until she is low to the ground and then flaps in short bursts to build speed and it seems like she twists her tail to maneuver between flaps. It's always over so fast, but I can tell a difference in her flight.

I'm kicking around the idea now of setting up a table perch in the downstairs family room for the molt. There's still lots of family activity so she won't spend much time alone, but the constant lights won't be a distraction to the rest of us when we want to sleep. Also this is the best way I can think of to be sure my RT never sees the sharpy. Ever.

How are you planning to feed during the molt? At the perch or in another location? Just curious. I don't know yet how I'm going to handle it.

keitht
10-13-2014, 01:37 PM
I'm kicking around the idea now of setting up a table perch in the downstairs family room for the molt. There's still lots of family activity so she won't spend much time alone, but the constant lights won't be a distraction to the rest of us when we want to sleep. Also this is the best way I can think of to be sure my RT never sees the sharpy. Ever.

.


Some type of table perch is the absolute way to go to moult out these small accipiters. There are lot's of designs. Here is the one I use. It is set up in my living room.

I would often have lights that would turn on and operate most of the night to speed up the moult.



http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x283/chondro_2007/DSCF0162.jpg

jeffandheidi
10-13-2014, 10:48 PM
Nice setup Keith! Do you use any special type of bulb?

keitht
10-14-2014, 02:17 AM
A regular incandescent bulb seemed to work for me.

460shooter
10-14-2014, 10:25 AM
A regular incandescent bulb seemed to work for me.
That's what I'm using. I did it years ago with a ferrug, and it worked. Think I'm just gonna stay with that. I am still flying her for now, and will for the next few weeks till the first feather drops. I feel like I've missed out on this hunting season cause of work falling at the WRONG TIME, but thankfully Twiggy seems very forgiving, and we had a great flight yesterday on a dove. She chased it for 100 yards, then pulled off. Sure was fun.

jeffandheidi
10-14-2014, 01:02 PM
That's one thing I love so much about this little bird, she takes up very little floor space and it doesn't seem particularly bother her if we have to miss a couple days of hunting. The rain this week has really kept us inside. I think there is a chance of sun tomorrow.

vlp
10-16-2014, 12:47 AM
I think so. Right now she is on the living room floor and does very well. I would like to continue flying her for a couple more weeks before we stop, she is on such a roll putting on some incredible flights every time we go out.


Example: early in the season when something flushed she would just explode off my hand and chase whatever she was after flapping crazily until she caught it or not. Lately when she leaves my hand she just jumps off but keeps her wings in until she is low to the ground and then flaps in short bursts to build speed and it seems like she twists her tail to maneuver between flaps. It's always over so fast, but I can tell a difference in her flight.

I'm kicking around the idea now of setting up a table perch in the downstairs family room for the molt. There's still lots of family activity so she won't spend much time alone, but the constant lights won't be a distraction to the rest of us when we want to sleep. Also this is the best way I can think of to be sure my RT never sees the sharpy. Ever.

How are you planning to feed during the molt? At the perch or in another location? Just curious. I don't know yet how I'm going to handle it.


I flew my last sharpie through December until she was injured by the rabbit she decided to tackle. I'm tossing around the idea of hunting her through Spring and putting her up for the molt in a smaller outdoor mews I have this summer. It's simply fun going out with her and watching how she has improved over the last month in her flights and abilities. I'm not ready to put her up just yet. Wanting to try for doves in our later dove season here. If I decide to try and molt her with lights I will fatten her up an keep her in my office on the setup I pasted a pic of below. I've been very happy with it so far. As for feeding her, I have been unclipping her and she flies to the kitchen where I already have her portion for the day out for her on the table. After she is done eating I usually set out the bath pan and let her get a drink and bath. She then hops to the glove and I clip her back up on the perch. Still deciding on best plan when she is heavy and trying to molt. I will probably turn off light, set measured food on shelf with her, turn back on light.

http://i1360.photobucket.com/albums/r656/coophawker/429852bccd3edf3f50de65d3f68a39a6_zpsd553981b.jpg

jeffandheidi
10-16-2014, 01:32 PM
That's a nice looking setup Vincent, is that a doormat type rug around the perch?

The weather is beautiful again, sunny skies for the next several days and we will be out each afternoon. Last night we doubled again on sparrows, she would have probably been good for another one if there had been time. I'm still working on getting the redtails weight down with lots of vertical jumps, so that is putting a limit on how late I can keep Ruby out.

When we walked into the field she was a little vocal and kept squeezing, ouch (kind of). She has definitely gotten more selective in her flights, there were a couple refused flushes that surprised me.

One of her best flights was through and around a small tree before she lost it on the ground. Her first catch was basically a gift, it flew out into the open and she sucked it up. Her second flight was from a small mound, she caught it about 10 feet off the ground and dropped straight down with it. I was relieved she didn't carry to a nearby tree, it would have been very easy for her.

This is the typical "I got it" pose I find her in on the ground. If she misses or loses sight of it she almost always returns to my hand or head immediately. I really like this hawk, it's going to be hard to finally call it a season with her and begin the moult.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/C55F73CA-4774-4ECB-A1CE-BDAD2B41A8C9.jpg

jeffandheidi
10-16-2014, 11:22 PM
Doubled again on sparrows. Nothing really different to report. The first was caught in the middle of a big blackberry bush. Here's another short video of that flight.

http://youtu.be/tfQdRQMfRmw

And a pic on the lure once I got her to the edge.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/64CB59B6-8C44-44A6-B05E-E4B52533EBB3.jpg

Congratulations San Francisco Giants, they earned it!

jeffandheidi
10-18-2014, 09:37 PM
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/251E938A-7AE3-4968-8902-F7282F8C21D6.jpg

Doubled on sparrows again today. A lot of the leaves are completely gone from small trees and some of the low bushes. Now when a sparrow dives for cover, she can still see it and follows it in, using her wings to pull, push and plow her way through cover along the ground. It works about half the time and I find her on a kill. It's starting to take a toll on her primaries, you can see in the pic after her first kill today.

The leaves are falling fast from the big trees also, and again we saw coopers around us and flying high overhead once. I will be putting her up for moult probably next weekend.
Most of her flights are within 40 feet but occasionally she keeps going or ends up around a corner of a brush line and it seems like Russian roulette that one of these times she will be chased or grabbed by a wild raptor. It's been an awesome season with this little rocket.

jeffandheidi
10-20-2014, 11:27 PM
We hunted yesterday with no luck, just very few birds in the field.

Today we got to show off for my buddy Mike and his wife with a few nice flights and a single sparrow kill. Ruby rode around on his head for a while, and sat still long enough to get a couple pictures.

She is a much different hunter than she was just a few weeks ago. She has gotten selective in her slips which is really ok with me even though it's sometimes frustrating. If a sparrow flushes from short grass in the open she might make an attempt but doesn't go for the long distance flights that she used to do. I prefer her to stay close and break off a chase if she doesn't have an advantage. If something flushes in cover or around bushes she will turn herself inside out to get at it, and usually does. Also, she prefers to ride on our heads, not all the time but most of the time. I'm sure it looks really strange to anyone else, but she gets a better vantage point, including the unfortunate sparrows that try to sneak out behind me. If she was always on my hand she wouldn't see those, but many of our recent kills have been at birds I didn't see until after she was chasing. Like anything else in falconry, we do what works best, even if we have to make it up as we go.

Unfortunately these are only iphone pics and the sun was in the way, but we take what we can get.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/F239F067-3229-4D29-8D6F-7AC3E6539850.jpg

Rear-view raptor:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/53465f2b-78e8-4cde-9a25-b59d58b22850.jpg

jeffandheidi
10-22-2014, 09:21 PM
I think it's about time to hang it up for the season. I had planned to fly through the weekend. We still have warm weather and the redtail is hanging on to her summer weight despite all the jump ups over my head for washed cottontail. But... After Ruby had caught today's sparrow and I was feeding her up on the glove, I heard some noise in some nearby cattails. My first thought was that it was just another bunny, but I had walked through there no more than ten minutes earlier. Turns out it was an adult female coopers, less than 15 feet away from us! I can't decide if she was on a slip at some small birds, or on her way to Ruby and just a hadn't noticed me somehow until the last second. Either way it was too close for me and kind of shook me up.

This all went down in the cattails in this picture.
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/112C8657-5C80-41FA-9509-18361DF14992.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/1164E057-06F7-47AB-8C81-0F904F13D1F8.jpg

Huntndad1
10-22-2014, 10:02 PM
Close call there Jeff! Congratulations on your season.clapp You've done a fine job with Ruby.haill

jeffandheidi
10-23-2014, 10:58 AM
Close call there Jeff! Congratulations on your season.clapp You've done a fine job with Ruby.haill

Thanks Lee, it's time for Jez and I to try to catch up with you and Kitt!

I've thought a little more about yesterday and it really doesn't matter to me if that coops was after Ruby or some other small birds nearby. If they are getting bold enough to hit the ground 15 feet away from me, that's well within the distance of 99% of our flights. Flying micro hawks always involves some measured risk anytime of year, but I'm pretty sure that if she hadn't been on my hand I would have lost her.

I guess I'll be putting together a table perch and lights this weekend.

jeffandheidi
12-19-2014, 10:57 AM
Just a quick update on Ruby since we stopped hunting almost two months ago. She is on a table perch, dropping lots of down and belly feathers, but no flight feathers yet. There were a few days after she was on the new perch that she was jumpy and didn't want to be messed with so I just left her alone except to bring fresh food (skinned starling) and take away the old stuff.
Thankfully that period passed and I can easily handle her. She goes into the box once a week when I change the towels under her perch. Just for fun I put her on the scale an she is a little over 200 grams, about 50g over hunting weight!

Squirrel hawking with the redtail is fun, but I already miss the summer accipiter flights.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/AF57916B-DCCC-400F-BB38-E655CFBB4FED.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/0BAB640F-5811-4FC7-A5DE-092C84690691.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/4ED83EE8-E834-438D-BA7A-DC417CC27EAC.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/201FFD28-0BE7-406C-A876-419B6B45C672.jpg

Backyard visitor. Support the wild bird population!
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/0F5F3E30-C603-432A-A41A-1960D3E6BA8D.jpg

BestBeagler
12-19-2014, 01:54 PM
Thanks for sharing Jeff. One season safe always a good thing.

jeffandheidi
05-21-2015, 10:27 AM
This molt is taking forever.

Most of her body and wing feathers have all dropped and are almost done growing in. It's her tail, she's only lost 7 tail feathers and hasn't dropped any more for at least three weeks. The lack of handling and high weight has her a bit more wary than I like, but I guess that's to be expected.

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/15352F67-E1B9-49E7-9368-DA9C691570DA.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/9CFE5810-EFBA-4F52-9B1F-E5BE2F23FCB6.jpg

http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/F65C8F86-48B6-4500-A9E6-BCFD98B8F518.jpg

keitht
05-21-2015, 11:42 AM
Jeff - Is she on any kind of Light?

jeffandheidi
05-21-2015, 11:55 AM
Hi Keith, yep she's been under lights since early November. For most of Feb and March she was falling apart but it's since slowed down. Her last feather to drop was a #1 primary last weekend.

I'm stuck between wanting a complete molt, and wanting to get her going again. If I go with option B I'm sure we won't be able to keep a perfect tail this time around.

What do you think?

PeteJ
05-21-2015, 12:15 PM
Hi Keith, yep she's been under lights since early November. For most of Feb and March she was falling apart but it's since slowed down. Her last feather to drop was a #1 primary last weekend.

I'm stuck between wanting a complete molt, and wanting to get her going again. If I go with option B I'm sure we won't be able to keep a perfect tail this time around.

What do you think?
They do seem to have a vastly superior feather construction as adults, and plus they seem to handle them with better discretion. So chances are quite good the tail will end up intact at the end of the season.

jeffandheidi
08-15-2015, 10:45 PM
I've had a difficult time finishing my final post on Ruby's. I would have something typed out, only to delete it for some reason instead of clicking on 'post reply'. I guess it's the finality and closure that she's gone. I knew every time we went hawking that there were risks from Coopers hawks, windows, fences, cars, cats, etc. Ruby died from West Nile a few weeks ago. I never really considered that to be a real risk to her since she was kept in our house anytime we werenít in the field. When we were hawking she was always in motion so I didn't think mosquitoes could really get to her.

By early June she hadn't dropped any more feathers so I settled for an incomplete molt and began cutting her weight a few grams at a time, hold weight for a day and then drop a few grams more. She still had some primaries and tail feathers growing in, but they were almost done so we started hawking. By the end of June we started driving around cruising for starlings. She had a couple slips, caught one, but it seemed like anywhere we found starlings down they were always in a place I wasn't comfortable letting her go, mainly due to traffic. I worried some about her carrying but eventually came to the conclusion that anything she was likely to carry wouldn't be enough to keep her coming back to the lure when she was done. The little pig that was. Fortunately she never carried.

Our main fields were about knee to waist high grass with all the rain we had this spring, and she quickly got back into the swing of making daily kills. Unfortunately they were usually the tiny little miscellaneous field birds that liked to stay in tall grass. She didn't know the difference though, she would catch something and trade for the lure just as easily as when we ended last fall. While she was eating her lure meat, I would skin the dead bird she had just stepped off of and allowed her to eat it on the lure also.

After a couple weeks of this kind of daily routine my daughter noticed one evening that one of Ruby's pupils was larger than the other. Ruby was acting normal, ate her evening top off ration and took a bath as usual so I made a note in our journal and decided to take a day off hawking just to watch. The next day it was still widely dilated, even in bright light. I spoke with Dr Tim Sullivan and set up a time to meet him the next day. That morning she was sitting with her eyes closed and having a difficult time standing. On the drive to see him she had fallen off her perch in the hawkbox and was lying belly down on a towel I had placed below her just in case. She was able to stand on my fist while he gave her a quick exam and confirmed what I had started to suspect. Before our visit with Tim I wasnít aware that there have been cases of west nile being transferred to raptors by eating infected birds. He agreed that mosquito bites werenít the likely cause since she was kept indoors, but many of the miscellaneous birds she had eaten at the end of a hunt. It was our best guess.
He sent us home with Meloxicam and asked me to keep him updated. She took it with no problem that day, and for the next two days she was still keeping her eyes closed but I saw her try to pick up one foot a couple times. Since she wasn't bathing or drinking anymore, in addition to dipping her food in water before I fed it to her a bite at a time, I would also get some water on my finger, and drip it onto her beak, then she would lick it off, over and over again.

By day 4 she was worse, unbalanced and would only eat a little at a time, in small hamburger sized pieces from my fingertips when I tapped her beak with it. That evening around 9pm when I was trying to get the last gram or so into her she had her first seizure. It started out slowly, and I didn't really recognize what was about to happen as her head slowly tilted back. She put out her wings for balance; fell sideways, and then the seizure started. Over the next several hours she had more than a dozen. Sometimes I would think she was going to sit up again, I could get her to take some water, then other times she would lie quietly for a few minutes with her eyes half open.

The last one happened just after 4am, and then she was still. It was over.
She was a sweet, tiny little bird with a huge attitude and Iíve thought about her a lot since then. Even going so far as to walk one of our fields and just remember her one evening.



http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/82FF6740-B4CD-4A12-9CD3-C4704F4B9322.jpg

Molt weight:
http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/AD1BB254-2AAC-4FFD-AE9A-A1E31E4C17EB.jpg


http://i1012.photobucket.com/albums/af247/bugsmasher7/2014%20Sharp%20Shin/861D30B3-F18A-4FFF-9993-72EBA6F84D68.jpg

wgtail
08-16-2015, 12:04 AM
Oh man a rough few days that had to be. Thanks for the post. Enjoy them like they live, day to day.

Breeze
08-16-2015, 09:36 AM
Oh Jeff! SO SORRY to hear this. Hold on to the good memories.

cobb lake john
08-16-2015, 09:57 AM
Rough times for sure. The virus is on everyone's minds here in Colorado as several falconers have lost birds and other reported illness then recovery. As in humans not all cases are lethal. My 12 year old gyr contacted it about 7 years ago then recovered fine. Yes it is spread by eating contaminated food. Sparrow are particularly high on the list of carriers. I've seen several around our property the were sick. I had my new Finnish gos vaccinated a couple of weeks ago and will do a second and third round.

keitht
08-16-2015, 10:20 AM
I had a few good days out with that bird. You did a very good job with her which was evident when I saw her fly.

I've been up in the air about getting a third dose for my new bird. Damn you West Nile.

falcondoc
08-16-2015, 11:05 AM
It really is a horrible thing for falconers and their birds to have to go through. The most recent study compared different vaccines and different protocols. With the Merial Recombitek WNV vaccine, it showed that the highest level of protection (but still not 100%) was reached after the 3rd dose. Other brands of vaccines--available in Europe--yielded even better results. For birds receiving their first WNV vaccinations, 3 doses are preferred.

Huntndad1
08-16-2015, 12:19 PM
Sorry to hear Jeff. You did a great job with her.

Dennis Samnee
08-16-2015, 03:58 PM
So sorry to hear Jeff.Yes you did a great job with her !
Little birds for so quickly
.
NOT your fault ,keep on hawking!!!!

DtRooster
08-17-2015, 05:52 AM
sorry to hear that.

Chris L.
08-17-2015, 10:06 AM
Jeff,

I am so sorry to hear this. Falconry has so many highs and can have so many lows. Just remember the fun you had with her and keep smiling about those times.

Thank you for keeping this thread. I feel like we all were able to be a part of her life. It will always be here for you to come back to.

E71000
10-04-2015, 01:04 AM
Sorry to hear about this. I was just checking on the thread to see how things where going.
This was one of my favourite threads.

Best of luck