View Full Version : Prairie falcon lure flying

01-03-2009, 04:04 AM
I've finally gotten my prairie falcon flying free and she's making a few passes at the lure now. I'm planning to shift over to the kite pretty quick. This is only her fourth day off the creance, and I was using some parachute cord jesses because she was giving me problems trying to carry, and I didn't trust her letting me get her secured, especially because it was pretty windy today. I think I can go without those tomorrow though.


01-03-2009, 12:23 PM
Beautiful Bird!! Is she captive bred or passage? What are your plans, ducks?

01-03-2009, 01:52 PM

Great shots and great looking bird..

I hope I can make it out with you at the WFA meet to see her fly. I hear that there will not be a long wing demo, but perhaps by then, we could just try to get her over some ducks.

Prairies are so cool!:D

01-03-2009, 03:59 PM
Fantastic photos and Prairie,i love Prairie falcons but in the UK they are very scarce to come by,and are bred less and less.
Shame as i'd love to hunt with either a tiercel or Prairie falcon.


01-03-2009, 05:28 PM
Great Pictures, thanks for posting.

01-04-2009, 01:33 AM
Beautiful Bird!! Is she captive bred or passage? What are your plans, ducks?

She's a passage bird that was caught last year, so she's once intermewed. I received her as a transfer bird early this summer from another falconer that had decided to release her. She hadn't been free-flown yet when I received her.

I don't have a pointing dog, so my plan is to hunt ducks with her. She really dragged out her moult (probably stress from the transfer) and didn't have all her flight feathers in until just a few weeks ago. So, with the super late start, and her general lack of fitness, my plans are in limbo. The ducks around here have left since all our water is so stiff. I'm quite worried about being able to get her on legal quarry with the late start. She's also my first attempt at a large longwing, so I'm probably a bit hesitant and slow, and I'm learning as I go.

So, my goals are maybe a little different with my late start, unfit bird, and lack of game (I do like a challenge though, hehe!). Basically, I want to learn as much as I can from her, and get her on game. My game plan at this point is to have her fly the lure for a bit, because I want to learn that, and because she needs strengthening. I know that may center her on me and result in less pitch, but I'm also hoping maybe it'll help keep her from leaving, hehe! Next, I'll get her on the kite. I've done a bit of that with my redtail, but I want to do it with the falcon too. I plan to incorporate pigeons with the kite, and also some pheasants. I'm hoping this will get her pitch up around 300 feet or so. Next, I'm hoping to get her on game before the season closes. Hopefully she'll be trained enough that maybe we can get on some ducks as they return, or on some when I go down to the WFA meet. Maybe I can even arrange some pheasants, but one of the reasons she was transfered to me was that she was terrified of her previous falconers pointer. She's doing very well with my JRT though, so I'm hoping we can get past that.

And last, I'm hoping to moult her out early enough to get on some ducks next fall, and also some of the jillions of mourning doves we have around here. I'm also looking at crows as a possible quarry, and we're overrun with feral pigeons, but that may be a negative factor. And if things go well and I enjoy this type of falconry, a pointer will need to be added to the family.

01-04-2009, 01:37 AM

Great shots and great looking bird..

I hope I can make it out with you at the WFA meet to see her fly. I hear that there will not be a long wing demo, but perhaps by then, we could just try to get her over some ducks.

Prairies are so cool!:D

Hi Kory- I look forward to meeting you at the meet, if you can make it! I think we may have some mutual friends. It seems like your name is familiar, and was mentioned to me by one of the Rice's? Sarah (lives in Michigan), or Andy (Wisconsin)? I could be confused though... Either way, I always like to meet new folks!

01-04-2009, 01:44 AM
Here are some more shots from today. I flew her without jesses, and evrything went fine. It was awful windy though, and that made things a little interesting.

I gotta say, I'm loving this! What a fun, neat bird!


01-04-2009, 05:07 PM
Be sure to keep us updated on your progress with the Prairie.

What is her flying weight?

01-04-2009, 08:43 PM
Be sure to keep us updated on your progress with the Prairie.

What is her flying weight?

Her flying weight right now is 675g. While she doesn't seem at all "low" to me, I'm sure her weight will increase as she adds muscle mass. I had her at 650g when I first flew her free, and have been letting her come up a few grams each day. While dropping her weight, at 675 and above she would mantle while holding her ration in her foot or mouth while on my fist. It would take her several minutes to decide to eat, meanwhile she'd be looking around, considering bating off with the ration, and sometimes even trying. On lure calls she'd attempt "grab 'n go's", and try to carry it off as I approached (my foot on the lure line, and she was on the creance). I'd describe her attitude towards plucking/eating as "at her leisure". At 650g she finally seeemd to take things seriously; breaking into her ration right away, eating quicker, less mantling, etc. Today at 675 she's back to watching the world go by, and taking 20 minutes to eat her ration, but no mantling. I'd describe her keel as sharp, but mainly from lack of fitness, rather than being low. At this point I think I'll try to raise her weight as I can, and pause when she starts showing me problems.

Tameness isn't a problem. She lives on her table/shelf perch in the living room, completely at ease with the terrier and my family. She hasn't shown any fear signs in a few months. Her attitude ranges from eager to hop on my fist, to indifferent if she's not hungry. Indifference turns to annoyance and avoidance if she's fat and I try to pick her up.

She's definately a "perch-potato" at this point. She's tired after about 20 seconds in the air. I'm trying to get her stamina and strength up with some lure flying for now, and plan to switch to the kite ASAP. A week, maybe?

This is a different set of challenges for me. I've only flown passage redtails and a kestrel, but those were "normal" in that I trapped a passage bird, lowered weight a bit as I trained, and raised weight as the season progressed while trying to maintain fitness, rather than increasing it. This time I started with a fat, fairly wild bird partly through the moult. Hopefully that doesn't sound like whining; it isn't. I'm enjoying the heck out of this experience! I'm just looking at things from a different perspective than I'm used to, and the "normal" way to run through training a passage bird doesn't always look (to me) like it'll work just right in my situation. Her fitness seems to be the factor slowing training the most.

I do have a set of experienced friends that have helped a lot with advice, and the person I recieved this bird from has been very helpful as well. I still welcome advice from you folks. This is my first large longwing...

01-04-2009, 09:06 PM
It's always strange to work with a bird that someone else trapped and fooled around with some. It sounds like your doing fine. At some point, she'll probably surprise you by suddenly getting into shape. It'll take longer than normal because of the long down time, but you've already figured that out. In time, a good natured passage Prairie can become a real pal.

I just got off the phone with a guy who has been a falconer since way before regulations. His first bird was a big 32 oz imprint Prairie. My first falcon was a passage Prairie. We both agreed that they can be very good birds - fast pit bulls. :D

01-18-2009, 10:19 PM
Well, I screwed up a bit. In an effort to increase her weight, hoping to allow for building muscle, I increased her weight to quickly, and that caused her to basically lose interest in the lure. Or, at least to responding to it quickly anyway. I switched over to the kite, and have been having trouble getting her to go up tnd grab the lure quickly. She goes and sits in a tree. Then flies across the field to sit in another. Then zips across the street to harass the pigeons in the silo over there. She'll come and catch the lure eventually, but it takes 20 minutes or more. And the lure hasn't been that high- only about 10 feet initially, and I've crept it higher each day. She'll sit 40 feet up in the tree, but wouldn't hit the lure at 20ft...

So, I lowered her weight back closer to where she started, and now she's all business. Today she looked at the lure at about 40ft, launched into the wind, flew about 3/4 of a circle to gain height, and slammed the lure. No more mantling, trying to carry, landing in trees, etc. She's not low, and has plenty of pep, but she's not screwing around any more! Here are a few pictures from today. I'm thinking I'll keep her at this weight for a bit, and see where it leads.


01-19-2009, 12:54 AM

01-24-2009, 05:51 PM
Here are a few shots from kiting today. She's going up about 150ft now, minus the angle of the line. The kite is 50ft above the lure, even though the lens makes it look a lot closer in the photo. She still won't go that high without landing in the top of a 60ft tree though...


01-24-2009, 07:36 PM
Cool Pics! That third one with the kite has a weird spatial reversal thing going on, looks like the kite is below the bird.