Archive for March, 2017

The Apprentice falconer – grown up

Monday 20th March. A wet morning here and apart from taking our dog out we are waiting for the rain to stop and fly the birds. If we go too far beyond their usual time we will have to call it quite for the day and feed round. So I thought rather just pressing my nose against the window I would write a short blog. We have an event at the weekend and so this week I will be prepping for this – getting the birds of prey ready for event flying. Also checking the static display and loading it into the van for the season ahead – an all day event necessitates the birds sitting out – protected by the static display with water available.

I include a picture of me – below – with ‘Bo’ the Eagle owl who is now 29 years old when we both a little younger and I still had my beard. It was taken at the Community Centre field where I live. The field is soon to be gone – to make way for a much needed new Doctors surgery  – so the photo shows the passing of time in more ways than one.

Taking of time I am now older than Phillip Glasier when he opened the Newent Falconry Centre back in the late 1960’s. I include a picture 0f him above along with some other notable trainee falconers he was instructing at the time. He is in the front holding a Coopers Hawk with his pointer dog gazing upwards. Paul Bevan sent the photo over some time ago. He was Head falconer at the Centre for some years in the 1970’s under Phillip and I in turn was an apprentice under Paul. He was and is the finest of falconers and taught me practically everything I know. When I see him I still feel like an apprentice!


‘Arizona’ our male Harris Hawk

I promised in  the previous blog that I would include a picture of ‘Arizona’ in the next. So here it is – taken today after he had been out flying. He is a brilliant flier circling and when conditions are right soaring back around to return to the fist. He will follow on well too – hawk walking as it is called! He flies off the T perch and chases the dummy rabbit and the disc – so he just about perfect. Not quite as keen on interactive work as ‘Red’ our old Harris Hawk but nonetheless ok – which fits in well with our format. Anyway here he is.

March 2017 – falconry displays update.

Well we have made it to March! and there are signs of Spring – certainly our local birds of pairing up. We have a good number of skylarks on the local field left to stubble over the winter and good flocks of mixed finches – actually really nice to see.  As I have said previously management practice in terms of farming can have an almost immediate effect on wildlife. I have not seen so many skylarks on farmland for years.

We are up to full speed now in preparation for the season to come – with Leah our 14 year old Lanner falcon flying quite beautifully again. ‘Sprite’ our peregrine is going well – everyday is an adventure with him! he is a clever flier and is really good at out smarting me as I swing the lure – like a lanner actually. I swing the lure now like a Dad dancing at a wedding. I really am going out to practice again after all the years – I need it!

Our Harris Hawk ‘Arizona’ flies so well – circling back and really looking lovely. It is easier to forget what absolutely stand out raptors Harris Hawks are – they are unique and probably the only hawk than can match any falconry bird ever trained.  It is easier to forget what an impact this intelligent ubiquitous raptor from the deserts of the Americas have had on modern falconry. I will get another photo of him for a future blog. I am going to end this blog with a picture of ‘Sprite’ sitting drying after a bath on the back lawn. Peregrines just love water and typically cannot wait for the bath to filled and jump just straight in! In warm weather they like a bath everyday.