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Thread: Juvenile red tail biting/footing

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    Default Juvenile red tail biting/footing

    Was wondering if anyone had any advice on correcting a bird biting and footing at the ungloved hand. The bird is flying to the glove and has a high response but is still acting aggressively toward the bare hand; the bird has not had an opportunity to associate the bare hand with food.

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    dboyrollz76 Guest

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    Not enough information and you have to sign your post.

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    Hot sauce on fingers they only bite 1 time
    Jeromy Nall

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    What did your sponsor say?
    Josh, MN

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    He said to keep touching it until it trusts the hand but it's difficult to do that when it gets bitten every time!
    Drake

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    What I do for bite birds is to take a tough work glove and cut the forefinger and thumb off. I use this when feeling the keel and such. Anytime I mite get bit. Then I can let them bite to their hearts content. The worst thing you can do is flinch.
    Jacob L'Etoile
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    Quote Originally Posted by ocoeeleo27 View Post
    He said to keep touching it until it trusts the hand but it's difficult to do that when it gets bitten every time!
    More info would be helpful. How long have you been working with the bird?

    What is the bird's response to you other than when you try to touch it?
    Does it step directly to the fist or bate? The more info we have the more
    useful the response that you will get.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Quote Originally Posted by ocoeeleo27 View Post
    He said to keep touching it until it trusts the hand but it's difficult to do that when it gets bitten every time!
    The very day I trapped my FPRT, I would touch her feet, wings, and keel if I dared, with very slow movements with one finger, as the whole hand can be a bit intimidating. She was surprisingly tolerable, but keep in mind that all birds are different. But yes, more info will be helpful in your cause.
    Jae Hanbury, Texas
    The things that we love...tell us who we are. - Thomas Aquinas

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    Stroke her feet with a feather so she gets used to the sensation of having her feet touched. Stroke her chest with a pen so when she bites she learns that it has no effect on you.
    Ken

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    She just needs to be manned more, more time on your fist. Manning is about building a relationship with the bird. She bites because she doesn't trust you. Build a relationship, gain her trust, and the biting and footing will stop.
    Steve Jones - http://www.americanfalconry.com/ https://www.youtube.com/@American_Falconry
    What is best in life? "The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair."

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    She needs more timing to be manned. Everyday, gently play around with her feet, and chest. You don't have to use your hands, even a feather can work. Prove to her that you are no threat and that it is okay to be trusted. Looking into the birds eyes, she will tell you everything of how she feels. Only you can know this for yourself, no one else.

    She will be agitated by this, some birds are; but over time she will stop the biting and footing. Just make sure that if she's the type to foot a lot, focus on her feet more with the touching. This will take time, it took around 2-3 weeks everyday for my redtail to settle down. Today he doesn't mind, but when he has his own moments to say "enough" that is when I respect his space and leave him alone from "petting" him. Even being present with your redtail everyday for hours can help. It just takes time and patience . And when the bird "bites" or foots" do not pull away, you will be showing fear to her, and that's just what she is looking for. Hope the suggestions that all of us are providing is helping you out .
    - Alia D.Genova

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    the bird has not had an opportunity to associate the bare hand with food.
    Food should not come from the bare hand (IMO) if in the manning stage. Post above gives good insight to manning and not enough time yet. But the bird should be feeding from the glove..........jumping to the glove and then flying to the glove. I would suggest getting William Oakes book "The Falconers Apprentice" as it is an excellent source on training. Food is associated from the glove not a bare hand.............maybe I am missing something. Your sponsor should also be of more assistance on the training/manning. Weight (under) may be an issue if very under weight............JMHO
    Joe N.

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    The bird flies to the fist very quickly and is attentive when he is waiting to return from the perch. It hardly bates, only a little outside and only when it is getting towards being full. His weight is definitely good and his condition is good also. He is well manned and has spent a large amount of time on the glove every day. He has eaten only off of the glove since his second day with me. His biting and footing isn't very forceful, and the way he looks at the hand seems to be of a curios nature, as is he sees it as just flesh and keeps wondering if he can eat it. I will continue to work with him and try to train the behavior out. Thanks for all of your advice!
    Drake

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    How do you get the piece of food to gloved hand? Do you use your barehand to place it in gloved hand if so your redtail has probably seen you do this and knows that's where the food comes from. I've had redtail stomp there foot on the glove looking for more food because they know that's where it comes from just seeing you take food from a pouch with barehand and placing in the glove they can associate the barehand with food. They are not dumb birds they can connect the dots easily.
    Matt H.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ocoeeleo27 View Post
    The bird flies to the fist very quickly and is attentive when he is waiting to return from the perch. It hardly bates, only a little outside and only when it is getting towards being full. His weight is definitely good and his condition is good also. He is well manned and has spent a large amount of time on the glove every day. He has eaten only off of the glove since his second day with me. His biting and footing isn't very forceful, and the way he looks at the hand seems to be of a curios nature, as is he sees it as just flesh and keeps wondering if he can eat it. I will continue to work with him and try to train the behavior out. Thanks for all of your advice!
    Sounds to me like those who suggested more manning time are on the money. How long have you had this bird?
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    I just wanted to add, if your bird is biting and footing it is trying to tel you something. Listen. When your manning, try to go until just before she foots you, or bites. That way you build up a tolerance in your bird. It will come in handy when your bird is on a kill and all keyed up. You will know how much you can ask of her and she will appreciate that.
    Jacob L'Etoile
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    Quote Originally Posted by forensics View Post
    Food should not come from the bare hand (IMO) if in the manning stage. Post above gives good insight to manning and not enough time yet. But the bird should be feeding from the glove..........jumping to the glove and then flying to the glove. I would suggest getting William Oakes book "The Falconers Apprentice" as it is an excellent source on training. Food is associated from the glove not a bare hand.............maybe I am missing something. Your sponsor should also be of more assistance on the training/manning. Weight (under) may be an issue if very under weight............JMHO
    I'm not sure if i'm mis-interpreting your post, so i'm just going to ask. So your opinion is the common mantra and often described in most apprentice books of getting the bird to eat from your off hand during early manning is an improper way to do it? If so what is/are your method(s)?

    Personally I've not had an issue getting a bird to eat while on the glove from the off hand. Starting closer to the beak and working down until he's bending to the glove.
    Gregory E. Miller
    "Hunt hard, kill swiftly, waste nothing, offer no apologies." - Teddy Moritz/Unknown Origin

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    During early manning, use a tiring with a good amount of meat on it to the bird while perched. If the bird eats the tiring, I pic her up with the tiring and let her eat, while she's focused on eating its easier to touch her. But the day I trap a bird its hooded for at least the rest of the day into the next, getting comfortable with the new sounds, being carried on the glove and touched.

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    I'm not sure if i'm mis-interpreting your post, so i'm just going to ask. So your opinion is the common mantra and often described in most apprentice books of getting the bird to eat from your off hand during early manning is an improper way to do it? If so what is/are your method(s)?

    Personally I've not had an issue getting a bird to eat while on the glove from the off hand. Starting closer to the beak and working down until he's bending to the glove.
    __________________
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    I believe you misunderstand my post...............I use and always suggest to apprentices to use Oakes book. The Falconers Apprentice. I never said to feed by bare hand...........feed calling or from the glove as this is where food is associated and manning is done. A bare hand offering food (unless via a skewer) during manning is asking for problems later. And as stated if the bird has an issue with footing the bare hand it is either way under weight or been fed wrongly. Food should be fed from gloved hand........then once eating they will jump to the glove ten fly to the glove.............just basic manning for a RT. So if it's going after the bare hand it's of of the issue's (I Believe) above.


    I also AGREE with the posted comment if the bird is seeing him pull meat from a pouch and placed on Glove than it is associating the bare hand with food. So attempt to train it and work things so as not to allow it seeing you place food by bare hand on glove. Turn your back in other words...............or other various ways and methods to disassociate hand feeding vs glove fed.
    Joe N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by forensics View Post
    I believe you misunderstand my post...............I use and always suggest to apprentices to use Oakes book. The Falconers Apprentice. I never said to feed by bare hand...........feed calling or from the glove as this is where food is associated and manning is done. A bare hand offering food (unless via a skewer) during manning is asking for problems later. And as stated if the bird has an issue with footing the bare hand it is either way under weight or been fed wrongly. Food should be fed from gloved hand........then once eating they will jump to the glove ten fly to the glove.............just basic manning for a RT. So if it's going after the bare hand it's of of the issue's (I Believe) above.


    I also AGREE with the posted comment if the bird is seeing him pull meat from a pouch and placed on Glove than it is associating the bare hand with food. So attempt to train it and work things so as not to allow it seeing you place food by bare hand on glove. Turn your back in other words...............or other various ways and methods to disassociate hand feeding vs glove fed.
    I am interested in this line of thought. None of the times I have been footed or bit have, in my opinion, been about food hand association. twice I was unclipping jesses at night and I got footed and held, the other times have been when I pushed the bird to much either on the lure or kill and they have just been tags. I feed redtails a lot from a skewer, only because I don't like getting bit, smaller birds I just use my fingers. I have never had a bird foot the skewer or the meat on the skewer, they just bite it. I am never shy about putting food on the glove, I don't hide it at all. I use my off hand to remove food from the glove (very carefully, with good timing) My experience has been that I get footed or bit if I push to far, if I'm spending to much time on checking condition, if I try to jess up too quickly, if my trade is clumsy, in the dark. That sort of thing. It is always preceded by body language that says STOP, WAIT. the only time I have ever felt I might get footed as a way to get food was when I was doing jump ups with an especially keyed up bird. She started watching my off hand very carefully and I stoped doing jump ups.
    Jacob L'Etoile
    Western MA

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    I get what you are saying Jacobe and I totally agree. However in this case I have to agree with Joe. We are trying to offer advice to an apprentice with what I'm assuming is his first redtail. He probably hasn't had the benefit of your years of experience and your ability to read the cues and body language of his bird. Until that skill is acquired I would always advise a new apprentice to avoid feeding with the opposing, ungloved hand. When that association is made things can go bad quite quickly and I might add, difficult to correct. I've seen it happen with more than one apprentice. One of them was me.
    Doug
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    Quote Originally Posted by forensics View Post
    I believe you misunderstand my post...............I use and always suggest to apprentices to use Oakes book. The Falconers Apprentice. I never said to feed by bare hand...........feed calling or from the glove as this is where food is associated and manning is done. A bare hand offering food (unless via a skewer) during manning is asking for problems later. And as stated if the bird has an issue with footing the bare hand it is either way under weight or been fed wrongly. Food should be fed from gloved hand........then once eating they will jump to the glove ten fly to the glove.............just basic manning for a RT. So if it's going after the bare hand it's of of the issue's (I Believe) above.
    I'm still not sure I understand at all. I'm going to copy a few direct excerpt from Oakes book (using the assumption the bird did not just reach down and pick up the food from the glove, as I have not experienced such bird):

    "After she has settled on the glove, using your free hand, slowly place a single piece of meat on your glove. Place it where she can see it without having to bend all the way over"

    "Using your free hand, pick up the meat and slowly move it up her chest toward her beak."

    "What if she did not open her mouth to allow you to pop the tidbit in? No problem, we just have to tickle her a little. Remember, use only slow movements so she will not bate off the glove. Take a tidbit of meat and gently touch it and rub it on the side of her beak.."

    I read this as explicit instructions to use your bare off hand to feed the bird during early manning. Although I can see benefits to the goals you describe, i've yet to see someone feed a bird early by only presenting food from gloved hand. I've used variations of Oakes method successfully while introducing food from the offhand.

    Granted I agree once the bird starts readily coming to the glove there's no value in off hand food presentation, but that's not what was being discussed (I don't think)
    Gregory E. Miller
    "Hunt hard, kill swiftly, waste nothing, offer no apologies." - Teddy Moritz/Unknown Origin

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    Sounds like the bird thinks it's too hungry to me. It doesn't matter what her keel feels like, if she has instant response, is well-manned, and is biting (or footing) the bare hand, a bird is usually too low-- at least in their own head.

    I've tidbitted with the bare hand every single raptor I've flown since 2002 and haven't been footed or bitten a single time from it. Although I haven't had a huge amount of experience with accipiters, I did the same with a passage cooper's without any problems and last season I flew a golden that was hand fed extensively and never once threw a foot.

    Once hawks are free-flying and manned, their weights should always be gradually raised until response slows a bit. The most common mistake I see is a RT is trapped, cut, and kept around that weight even after it is tamed and the weather gets even colder. Even worse, some falconers advise further weight reduction when their apprentices have trouble with the bird committing to game, when in reality, the hawk actually need more muscle and energy to be successful. That's how passage RTs are transformed into screamers, footers, or both in a short time.

    Anyway, I'm not saying this is the case for your bird, but definitely consider raising the weight slowly (probably 5 grams per day) and see if that helps.
    Dillon Horger
    Pennsylvania

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    Hi drake. I hope you are having better luck with touching your bird - this summer I trained a rehab rt that was very bitey/footy. Being used to my other (super mellow) bird I wasn't sure what to do. I started out just moving my hand very, very slowly towards her chest, and the moment she reached towards me I would pull my hand back, then repeat when she lost interest in my hand. When I got my hand close enough to her, still moving super slow, I touched her chest really lightly with one finger and immediately pulled my hand away. At first she"d still try to snap at me, but if I did it quick enough I could avoid being bit, and eventually I was able to work up to her allowing me to stroke her chest and feel her keel without getting bit -though I still had to move slowly and watch her body language.
    Not sure if this is helpful, but I just thought I'd toss my 2 cents in here for what it is worth.
    Good luck with your bird and I hope you have an awesome season!
    Iva Uridel ~~~ 1st Year General

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    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut View Post
    I get what you are saying Jacobe and I totally agree. However in this case I have to agree with Joe. We are trying to offer advice to an apprentice with what I'm assuming is his first redtail. He probably hasn't had the benefit of your years of experience and your ability to read the cues and body language of his bird. Until that skill is acquired I would always advise a new apprentice to avoid feeding with the opposing, ungloved hand. When that association is made things can go bad quite quickly and I might add, difficult to correct. I've seen it happen with more than one apprentice. One of them was me.
    I understand, I was told the same thing, emphatically, when I apprenticed. No hand food association, ever. I don't know if I was just bad at it, or what but the bird always figured out where the food came from, quickly. So despite my best efforts the functional effect was the same as if I had been feeding with the hand the whole time, without learning how to do it rite, and without learning how to read the bird. I suggest using the skewer or forceps now, not to avoid association, but as a confidence booster for the falconer and the bird. The hawk, in my experience, is less averse to a skewer or forceps than an entire hand, and having the food not in the fingers makes the falconer more confident and less likely to flinch. I guess this is just a long way of saying that in my opinion there is no way to prevent the bird from knowing that food comes from the off hand, the only thing you can do is to learn to read your bird. But that could just be my shortfall.
    Jacob L'Etoile
    Western MA

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    Granted I agree once the bird starts readily coming to the glove there's no value in off hand food presentation, but that's not what was being discussed (I don't think)
    __________________
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    In reading back and even my own first post I high lighted his comment of the
    bird has not had an opportunity to associate the bare hand with food.
    .

    So in my hurry as usual I did not fully read what I copied and pasted. I will on a newly trapped bird use a skewer to place food at the nares of the bird to take a bite on offering food.............then via a skewer place it on the glove...............so my question to the author now is how are you getting food to the glove and how was it delivered during manning. As a bare hand is often used for a short period during this time...............once manned tidbits are placed without the bird seeing food placed on the glove so as not to associate the bare hand with food. Making into a kill yeah they can and do foot at times. I have read over the post the original author made and it would appear that more is needed on his manning tactics, how far along is the bird, is it free flying or hunting yet. Also, I still fall back to my first post of being possibly under weight (as others note) and going for the bare hand.............with or without food on it. I keep food unseen as much as possible when manned and hunting and calling back to the glove. I will turn my back if needed and place it on the glove. Personally I have never experienced what is first described unless the bird is in Yarak or way under weight...............perhaps a little more info would be of help as I am now confused Gregory. More info from the author of the thread............. I am surprised to hear so many are not familiar with Oakes method of manning as well.

    Checking the keel is essential and done bare handed............here is one of my birds that an hour earlier was hunting and grabbing at my pockets for food.............once a kill was made and fed she calmed down............but she never footed before or after the kill/hunt. Just wanted the tidbits in my pocket. https://youtu.be/fAmCZsRqvDU


    Drake, perhaps this may give some idea as to how one should react to hands on them. https://youtu.be/xnv_j92wKms
    Joe N.

    Florida Panhandel

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    I've had many Red Tails like that and I just didn't touch them.I strongly believe in aggressive Hawks.When we trapped for red tails to hawk with I always kept the biggest bad ass birds.Filthy feet, frayed or a few broken feathers and especially with a crop.we always said the meaner the better. Your looking for a Killer not a pet.Get her killing pigeons right away at your feet from distances right after she comes to your fist once or twice.. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynamitedon View Post
    I've had many Red Tails like that and I just didn't touch them.I strongly believe in aggressive Hawks.When we trapped for red tails to hawk with I always kept the biggest bad ass birds.Filthy feet, frayed or a few broken feathers and especially with a crop.we always said the meaner the better. Your looking for a Killer not a pet.Get her killing pigeons right away at your feet from distances right after she comes to your fist once or twice.. Good luck.
    Last thing one wants is an over aggressive bird with their handler. My bird above is aggressive on game big time but not people. I still say if his bird is aggressive and footing the bare hand there is another issue and not the disposition of the bird. Hell, my ferrugs are not even footy as he is explaining..............there is an issue going on somewhere. Meaner the better is not always true nor productive.
    Joe N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dynamitedon View Post
    I've had many Red Tails like that and I just didn't touch them.I strongly believe in aggressive Hawks.When we trapped for red tails to hawk with I always kept the biggest bad ass birds.Filthy feet, frayed or a few broken feathers and especially with a crop.we always said the meaner the better. Your looking for a Killer not a pet.Get her killing pigeons right away at your feet from distances right after she comes to your fist once or twice.. Good luck.
    That is the sort of attitude espoused by the people who have pit bulls that give pit bulls a bad name as a breed. Sort of like saying to be a tough marine you need to beat your wife and kids.


    A well mannered manageable hawk reflects well on its falconer. A bird does not have to be mean, big, bad ass, filthy or frayed to be aggressive on game and produce respectable head counts. Some of the most impressive performers that I have seen have been birds that would let anyone touch them.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Well said Ron than what I was able to relate by my post above yours and my two videos. How a bird reacts...........especially aggressive behavior is a reflection on it's manning and handler. I still wish we knew more on the bird in question. Weight, age, manning procedures and feeding.....
    Joe N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by forensics View Post
    I still wish we knew more on the bird in question. Weight, age, manning procedures and feeding.....
    For some reason he doesn't seem to want to reveal that info.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Agreed. Been thinking the same but feel we have answered it for him already and it would appear he may now know it. I still say it's very low weight doing it.
    Joe N.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkumetz View Post
    That is the sort of attitude espoused by the people who have pit bulls that give pit bulls a bad name as a breed. Sort of like saying to be a tough marine you need to beat your wife and kids.


    A well mannered manageable hawk reflects well on its falconer. A bird does not have to be mean, big, bad ass, filthy or frayed to be aggressive on game and produce respectable head counts. Some of the most impressive performers that I have seen have been birds that would let anyone touch them.
    Deb Davis
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    Default This is may be about manning - advice below....

    Although I agree with other posters that weight may be an issue (the bird may be "hot"); leaving that aside and focusing upon manning for the sake of discussion, I resolve these issues with new birds very early in the process. If this is a manning issue (tameness) then it is less about food association, more about aggression. Untame birds use aggression to thwart/control stimuli they don't trust. Conversely, You need to thwart/control their aggression as you work to build their trust.

    Regarding footing the bare hand, you need to control their foot movement by holding the jesses. This should be one of the first things you accomplish in manning the bird - typically, I resolve this issue long before I start jumping to the fist (in the first few days). You can ease up on the jesses as the bird becomes trustworthy with its feet while you touch and inspect them.

    Some birds are initially "bitey" during manning - the process where I acclimate the bird to being handled on the glove, having its feet touched and examined, having its keel evaluated, and touching its beak/cere.

    The problem is that the birds quickly learn the value of this behavior (you stop bothering them) and so they repeat it. Some folks (bless their heart) advocate just sucking it up - but lets get real...it hurts. Some folks advocate holding a hard object (small stone or key) and manipulating it so the bird bites down on that item - uncomfortable for the bird, so it deters. Unfortunately, birds are usually smart enough to differentiate between the object and your flesh.

    If I encounter such a bird, I round off their beak tips. A bird with a round-coped beak will bite down, twist and pull the skin on the back of your hand for all it's worth - to no effect. So they stop. It may look less elegant for a little while, but they sharpen up again in a few weeks. In the meantime you have the added benefit of the fact that it is more difficult for them to break into prey items (squirrels in particular). This helps teach them not to bump away when you make in. After the bird realizes that it needs you to open the kill for them to be rewarded, they settle in quickly to your reward/trade-off routine.

    One way to skin the cat.
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    Thought the same thing, but we believe we already provided the answer, and it appears he may now be aware of it. I still maintain that performing it is of very little weight.
    tunnel rush

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