Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More Backyard Birds

In this case, a very relaxed Harris' hawk, fat and sassy in summer mode.

I was sitting on the back porch last night reading Dan Manix's wonderful, self-indulgent A Sporting Chance: Unusual Methods of Hunting. I've read the book numerous times; it was one of my early influences, neatly containing short treatises on several interests of mine: falconry, coursing, boomerangs, blowguns, bolas and more. There's even a bit about using trained bullfrogs to catch house sparrows. I kid you not.

I found again Manix's funny, pre-PC line in the chapter on falconry about the task of weathering a trained hawk and how watching the bird was "traditionally woman's work, usually the falconer's wife or mother." (Comments Rebecca? Helen?) Manix adds quickly that it's important for a falconer to make sure he has the right sort of wife or mother before obtaining a hawk.

I first read that line as a young teen and tried to imagine whose mother or wife that might describe. None came immediately to mind.

While I've learned since that I do very much have the right sorts of women in my life, none so far share my interest in this particular task. Fortunately for me, I've always enjoyed watching my own hawks weather and bathe.

In the summertime, anyway, there's not much else to do with them.

(Eight minutes of a Harris' taking a bath? Sure, why not? It's YouTube!)


Isaac Nichols アイザック ニコルス said...

The sad thing is I knew it was just going to be a Harris bathing and still watched all 8 minutes!

Matt Mullenix said...

Truly we falconers are strange folk!

Anonymous said...

Yeah . . . I could not help myself and watched the whole video as well. Ernie is molting FAST. He is sooo tame too. Wish my birds were that tame during the molt. I am not sure they are that tame during the season either :-)


Rebecca K. O'Connor said...

Hmmn. I either need a better mother or a wife. What a quandry.

Matt Mullenix said...

Matt, yes, "tame as a chicken" doesn't do him justice. Ernie is more than relaxed; he's curious about things and genuinely gregarious, even now. I won't try it, but I'm sure I could fly him today at 150+ grams over hunting weight.

Rebecca, maybe look into mail-order?

MANu said...

I just watched all eight minutes! hahaha...oh boy this falconry bug is something else!