Saturday, September 8, 2007

Texas Falconry Season

It is the time of year when Texas Falconers begin to watch the roadside poles for passage birds. I have been getting my BCs ready for September 15th and counting the days. You can only do so much to a mew and you can’t wish a hawk to molt faster. Hawks and falcons are kind of like boiling water. The more you watch the slower it is to get there. I have re-read some of the important books and articles in hopes that I will glean new information and knowledge that will help me be a better falconer this year.

You can only plan the routes you will drive on your trapping trip so many times; it always seems to change when I get there anyway. I will be going down a planned route and see a hawk a half mile down a side road and end of going miles and miles in search of that special bird and end up somewhere else at the end of the road. Be sure and carry all your permits and ID that you will need on the trip. This is really important if you will be going to South Texas after a hawk, either that or I look like a foreign exchange student or something they do not see down there much as they seem to want to pull me over and see if I will give them an autograph or picture or something. Remember that falconers have a special privilege in taking our birds from public road right of ways and we should always try to be as safe as possible and follow all traffic laws. Do not trespass to place a BC as in Texas this is a serious crime and some landowners are not above violence in remote areas. If possible travel and trap with a partner for safety sake and to keep an eye out for traffic and birds.

Remember that it is extremely hot this time of year and to take along plenty of water for you and any bird that you may capture. It is important to keep a raptor hydrated and cool as they are under the stress of just being captured. I take along a spray bottle to hydrate the hawk and keep my giant hood inside where the air-conditioning will keep the bird cool. If I have to spend the night somewhere the bird comes inside with me to stay cool and to keep it safe. Also remember that gerbils and raw meat both can go bad in the extreme heat and should be cared for appropriately. Good Hawking, Wild Ed

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