Saturday, November 16, 2013

Disaster averted

Where to start? We had been extremely happy with  Mima, for several weeks. We even took her to Wyoming with us as you can see on the blog. She was gradually reducing and was almost down to 800 grams. I was planning to fly her free this week, and was just trying to get the last few grams off her. This is important because she was NOT particularly low in weight -- in fact, she had come up a bit from the day before.

We usually have her on the screen perch in the kitchen or a bow perch outside. If we go too long before a meal she gets restless and may bate, so I put her in the box, which she enters happily and voluntarily. She also sleeps in it at night, so she remains accustomed to it. A friend was an hour overdue to fly her what might have been her last flight tethered on the creance (line) before I hunted her.

The phone rang and I went outside to talk on it. Lashyn, our old blind diabetic Kazakh tazi, who is 13,  was asleep in her chair by the door. Suddenly Lashyn started screaming as though she had been hit by a car. I came in to find that Mima had popped out of the box, snapping the carabiner on it, and was on a death grip on Lashyn's muzzle, jaw, and tongue with both feet. I literally could not pry her off of Lashyn because of all the blood and slime. When I finally levered her hind talon off Lashyn's jaw she shifted to my left hand. I was able to get the cell phone and punch in a call to Libby at the PO a half mile away. Mima stayed locked on. It took both of us and rehooding to get her free of human and dog flesh. My sister from Boston. who was on the phone for the whole thing, was understandably upset.

I repeat, she was not low on weight at all. Afterwards, when I put her out on the bow perch she first attacked me, then ate a quail without further mantling at all, calmly as though nothing had happened. She then stepped to my fist with no further ado and roused!

I don't really understand what happened; I only know that it has never happened to me [in 50 years of hawking] before. She had shown a bit of aggression toward both me and the dogs in the house, but never anything like this. The only thing I've ever seen act this way was one  Golden eagle (not mine), and a badly treated imprint at that. She does not act like an imprint and generally has good manners.

I was disappointed because she is a very nice hawk. Given the aggression towards my dog, I dare not trust her around dogs. I still really want to fly a shortwing this winter, and am perfectly amenable to any bird that doesn't burst out of a box and attack a sleeping blind hound.

My friend generously took her back, and almost instantly placed her in a household with two male Harrises for her to push around -- that is, her natural social order. To add insult to injury, she took a rabbit the first day after I gave her back. Which was the first day I planned to take her out.

Better days

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How aggravating! But couldn't your old dog have made a slight movement of the muzzle that the hawk mistook for a prey item, rather than unprovoked aggression to the dog? I guess it could have been worse; a younger dog might have damaged the hawk as well!....L.B.