Quote Originally Posted by barbedraptor View Post
The beauty of the CR allows you to train a behavior that is not usually common in the wild. Merlins don't ring quarry in the wild because the quarry just gets away in the bushes most of the time. So to be able to CR and reward rare behavior enables you to practice that particular style flight. Example: I remember the article of the passage ferruginous hawk that quit flying jack rabbits after several days of coming up empty. All you would of needed to do is CR the misses until the hawk started to catch them regularly. The CR and reward would have encouraged those long beauty flights until the hawk learned how to finish them.
Wild Merlins of all races do ring quarry until the energy efficient & survival learning curve kicks in..

Motivation is offset by more efficient survival techniques.

Ringing flights are only possible for as long as the bird over flows with confidence, fitness and easier opportunities are not present.

What you describe is quite similar to how I train game falcons to be in a position of dominance, and is not how I would shape the necessary mind set for ringing pursuit.

A ringing flight is a very natural behaviour, as is the willingness for the bird to continue to do it..

The longevity of this style of hawking is down to the falconer and his skills in preventing the natural progression to more efficient techniques as seen in wild birds.. (hence your suggestion that wild birds DONT ring) they probably did, but learnt that such a high level of input both draws attention and is less effective than sneak attacks at low level

In the case of the Passage Ferru, I would suggest that additional disheartening factors took the bird away from its natural confidence and ceased the desired behaviour.. to maintain the positive motivation of ALMOST all other elements must be in place.

I've had birds try incredibly hard all season to catch things they have never caught or eaten before..
For this you need to work birds in a mind category that does not pressure them in to coming up with a solution fast to better their situation.
Effectively the bird is suspended in a serious play mode..

The natural learning of birds is simple, but is based on multiple aspects..
its influenced by confidence, fitness and recognition of suitable opportunities.