Hope dies last.

BirdManMike

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Oct 9, 2019
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784
Location
Montana
Feeling emo. Might delete later.

Two seasons ago, my falcon migrated. Our anatum peregrines spend their winter in Mexico and Central America. Sometimes, falconry birds, especially in their first season, get this urge and there is no stopping them. This season was particularly bad -- I know of 6 birds that left, mine included, with only 1 being recovered. She left near Harlowtown in the morning. I was able to miraculously pick up a signal on my telemetry near Big Timber later that evening, then after miles of trekking thru whoknowswhere had her buzz me and the live pigeon on a string I was swinging round. She wasnt having it, tho, and carried on, other things on her mind. The next morning, I could not get a signal anywhere and having no way to know where to look wished her well. I hope she made it to Mexico, then back that spring.

Last season, my tiercel had a really nice season. He turned into a dynamic, high flying bird, that would remount multiple times, even the 20-30mph winds that seemed to be neverending last winter. Then, late in the season, he died. He ate a bone without first breaking it up. It created a small perforation in his esophagus causing his crop to sour. He was dead within 24 hours, dying as I rushed to the vet in Billings that morning. He was the best peregrine I had flown in the past 5 seasons. The future felt so bright, then heartbreak.


One of the oldtimers - an ancient, even - said he has spent some time thinking about how to explain falconry. One of the ideas he came up with is heartbreaking. The highs are so awesome there has to be a price to pay for the balance. At times this price makes a person feel they don't want to make that deal again.


Ive felt it, never in the 10 years Ive been doing this more than the past 2 seasons, last year especially.

Hope dies last. This is how I would explain falconry. What happened today doesnt matter, tomorrow is a new day.

IMG_9048.jpg
 

FoodIsMemories

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
896
Location
SW MT
Feeling emo. Might delete later.

Two seasons ago, my falcon migrated. Our anatum peregrines spend their winter in Mexico and Central America. Sometimes, falconry birds, especially in their first season, get this urge and there is no stopping them. This season was particularly bad -- I know of 6 birds that left, mine included, with only 1 being recovered. She left near Harlowtown in the morning. I was able to miraculously pick up a signal on my telemetry near Big Timber later that evening, then after miles of trekking thru whoknowswhere had her buzz me and the live pigeon on a string I was swinging round. She wasnt having it, tho, and carried on, other things on her mind. The next morning, I could not get a signal anywhere and having no way to know where to look wished her well. I hope she made it to Mexico, then back that spring.

Last season, my tiercel had a really nice season. He turned into a dynamic, high flying bird, that would remount multiple times, even the 20-30mph winds that seemed to be neverending last winter. Then, late in the season, he died. He ate a bone without first breaking it up. It created a small perforation in his esophagus causing his crop to sour. He was dead within 24 hours, dying as I rushed to the vet in Billings that morning. He was the best peregrine I had flown in the past 5 seasons. The future felt so bright, then heartbreak.


One of the oldtimers - an ancient, even - said he has spent some time thinking about how to explain falconry. One of the ideas he came up with is heartbreaking. The highs are so awesome there has to be a price to pay for the balance. At times this price makes a person feel they don't want to make that deal again.


Ive felt it, never in the 10 years Ive been doing this more than the past 2 seasons, last year especially.

Hope dies last. This is how I would explain falconry. What happened today doesnt matter, tomorrow is a new day.

View attachment 231144
I’m sorry for the loss. I guess I never realized they were kept so free. A beautiful trust..
 

BirdManMike

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Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
784
Location
Montana
Great InSite to Falconry.
What are the chances he shows back up next spring?
The lost bird? Seeing her again would be like finding a needle in a haystack. If she made it - and there isn’t any reason she couldn’t have - she’d have found herself an eyrie looking over a river somewhere in the Rockies. She’d not come back here to my house.
 

MNElkNut

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Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,270
Location
Minnesota
Curious about her not coming back to your area. Do they ever come back to the same area they were born? Do they come back to the same area after they have established themselves an eyrie?

Sorry, one more question. Do they exhibit pet-like qualities? Like a dog.
 

406LIFE

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Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Messages
3,079
Any day you come back with your bird is a good day in falconry, right?
I went with Marshall GPS on my peregrine, pricey, but so are the falcons.
 

BirdManMike

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Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
784
Location
Montana
Once a falcon establishes an eyrie and territory, they will continually return to that same eyrie as long as they are alive. Before this, they wander quite a bit, getting pushed out of occupied territories, looking for good hunting, etc.

Birds of prey are not like dogs, they are far simpler animals. The short answer is that they do not exhibit pet-like qualities. There is a bond, tho, and the level of bond varies in different raptor species. These peregrines bond pretty quickly. They are happy to see me in the morning, excited to go flying for the day, content in their weathering area after the days flight, and then ready to get put up for the night in the chamber or on the shelf perch.

After the initial manning and training period, the bird comes home with me because they want to. I fly every day thru the season (with some exceptions for weather or just life happening), and the bird could leave at any point while flying if it wanted. In reality, losing a bird is very rare. Mistakes happen, but the risk is of loss highest with species/subspecies that migrate. Ive only ever lost the one mentioned above. The tundra peregrines by all accounts are the worst as far as loss goes. These birds spend their summers in the Canadian and Alaskan arctic then their winters in Patagonia as far south as Tierra del Fuego, literally birds of eternal summer - as you can imagine, the urge to migrate is HIGH in these birds.


Anyway, my new tiercel is a couple days in and doing as well as can be expected. He is pretty fiery - extra bite-y and foot-y. The tiercels are always much more angst-y than the falcons. It doesnt take long, tho, and Id expect him to be flying free, chasing pigeons and learning in about 3-4 weeks, then flying game pretty close to the opener. At that point, Ill be his best friend - me the dogs, we creatures that make the fun happen with pigeons to chase magically appearing from seemingly nowhere.

Mayhap Ill post updates on his progress here, or perchance I shant. Youll have to wait and see. 🤷‍♂️
 
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