Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Falconry at My Preserve

My preserve partners on programs with a nature center three miles away that focuses on children's environment education.  The nature center only has 10 wooded acres in the middle of suburbia, whereas I have 812 acres and a lot of diverse habitat.
A captivated crowd
Last Sunday afternoon, the nature center sponsored a falconry program in my grasslands.  The falconer brought his Northern Goshawk/Harris' Hawk hybrid (Accipiter gentilis x Parabuteo unicinctus) to my preserve for a flight demonstration and question period.  About thirty of the nature center's members enjoyed the show on the most springlike day of the year so far.  The sky was a cloudless blue and temperatures were in the upper 50s.
Preparing to take flight
Caught in mid-flight
The falconer routinely trains and flies his two raptors in my grassland, so his hawk was familiar with the surroundings.  The bird made two 10-minute flights and put on a good show.
Replacing the bird's hood after the first flight


robin andrea said...

What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, watching this beautiful bird fly. Love these photos.

Scott said...

Thanks, Robin Andrea. I was in a bad mood (and the flight didn't lift my mood much), but I still enjoyed the show and the company.

Mark P said...

Pretty cool. I've never seen anything like that in real life.

Scott said...

It is cool, Mark. But,sometimes I worry that it might be scaring off other birds, especially grassland nesting birds during the breeding season.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: Good question about scaring the other birds, though I'm guessing the answer is mostly no. Little birds live with the threat of local hawks all the time. They don't like them. They scream at them and attack the bigger the birds, but that doesn't seem to scare them from nesting. My answer might be different if you had a falconer's convention on the property, but one falcon likely won't.

Scott said...

I think you're probably right, Carolyn; "our" skies are full of hawks. (Maybe that's one reason we don't have a lot of grassland birds nesting now."