As for me and my blog, we will serve the Lord!

January 10, 2006

Extreme Birdfeeding

I started working part-time at the All Seasons Wild Bird Stores , the Eagan and the Sprawl of America locations a few months ago. One of the most frequent and long-running conversations I’ve had with my new birdfeeding co-workers has been about my falconry avocation. Many folks are under the impression that falconry is a hobby. Not a chance. In fact the reason I am in inactive mode right now is because the "falconry lifestyle" doesn’t mesh real well with the "youngster and home-based business lifestyle". My hope is that when Andrew is about 10, I’ll be able to re-integrate "extreme birdfeeding" into my life, with Andrew learning along the way.

My favorite bird, a breeder-produced Harris’ Hawk named "Nicole", earned early accolades from the St. Louis falconers during her inaugural year. Seeing her hard-hitting style (not typical of her species) and the result of that style on her captured game, she was re-monikered "The Hammer". Despite her gung-ho attitude toward game, she was a pleasant, albeit noisy bird to be around. Sweet natured comes to mind. This photo was taken after her first rabbit catch. (The longhaired and fairly skinny guy is none other than your blogmaster).

I had quite a few adventures with Hammer. She once captured a former fiancée’s dog—twice in less than 2 minutes. The dog was fine but the relationship suffered. She nailed a feral cat whose bite to Hammer’s wing put her out of commission for 2 months. She was a great squirrel hawk; she ended her first season with her first squirrel—a nearly 3 pound fox squirrel. The following year saw her put 3 squirrels in the bag in 45 minutes on several occasions.
Hammer seemed to believe anything was fair game. She chased deer, coyote, groundhogs, quail, and woodcock. In Minnesota she mastered the art of car-hawking crows and chased and rolled her first ever white-tailed jackrabbit. The jack left her standing in the field shaking her head! But the Minnesota cold was too much for her. She now resides in a breeding project in Valdosta Georgia. I miss her.


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