Hi Gang,

I am finally plugged into the net again. I have been absent, more or less, since April of last year..

I have really, really missed NAFEX. Trying to browse NAFEX on my Blackberry is a huge pain, so I am glad to be back at my desktop. I am jealous of all my friends with Androids and how easily they can browse websites..

I flew a new-to-me tercil peregrine this fall and got a great start with him. He ultimately refused our big mallards and black ducks, but would knock the snot out of my pigeons.. He will be 4 this spring and has had no exposure to ducks, so we have a bit to get sorted out. It was really dry here this fall, so no standing water in fields and I had to work for duck slips, only to have him refuse them

I wasn't able to locate any call ducks once I realized he would not fly ducks. I really thought, with the way he was killing pigeons, he would not hesitate on ducks. We will work it out! I will raise up my own ducks this summer and have him kill a few thru the summer and fall, and hopefully roll right into the regular duck season in October. He is a neat bird and flies like I want him to.. He stays tight and just goes up, which is perfect for my duck ponds. I am eager to try again with him this fall.

Redtail trapping this past fall was miserable.... the worst I have had since we were able to start trapping in Michigan some years ago.. It appeared to be the same all around the state with low numbers of local passage birds. Collectively between Joe Ballone and I, we put on a couple thousand miles to trap two redtails, and only trapped one in the first two days of trapping. We normally average 4 to 8 birds trapped in the first two days and have the choice of a few different females. Not so this year. Things never really improved thru migration here, but we were able to trap three birds with and for falconers across the state. The good news is the three that we trapped are doing well and all catching game now.

Coopers hawks, on the other hand, seemed to be plentiful and I trapped many at my loft in a simple drop-in trap. I trapped the same female three times and, it seemed, that she weighed the options of a free meal vs. being manhandled and chose the meal. I was thrilled to trap a passage male Coopers hawk, only the second passage male I have ever trapped. All these birds were socked, weighed, dusted for flies and mites, measured, fitted for hoods and anklets, and then immediately released. Too bad it is so much work to get on a banding permit, or I could have banded them. The female I trapped three times still comes around daily and I leave a thawed quail out on the loft for her a few times a week. She is beautiful and has a white eye stripe that makes me think she is a passage male goshawk every time I see her!

Our (Aaron Allred and I) imprint female Coopers Hawk, Dandelion laid eggs last year, but I missed the timing with my donor male Goshawk by about 10 days. I learned quite a bit, so I am more hopeful that the timing for both birds will sync this spring and we can make some NACs, North American Crosshawks. Aaron and I have put some time into this project and we would like to see Crosshawks in the hands of some falconers. We are hopeful for some success this spring.

I plan to pull either a Coopers hawk or a Goshawk to imprint and hack here at the homestead.

I had to put my 13 year old Brittney "Molly" down this past spring and my daughters and I are really missing having a dog at home. She was my first pointing dog and did it all. She pointed fur and feather and even liked to flush ducks. She has been missed these months.. We are now shopping for a new Brittney puppy for the spring.

Glad to be back and reading of everyone's falconry adventures. So much to look forward to in the New Year!