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Introduce yourself This is a good place to tell a bit about yourself.


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  #1  
Old 05-20-2008, 10:26 PM
FalconryGirl FalconryGirl is offline
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Red face Hello, Everyone!

Just thought I'd introduce myself to the members of this Forum:

I'm a young female sophomore in a private Lutheran High School, where I participate in Varsity Softball and Academic Team. I'm also entering my 2nd year as being an apprentice falconer, and I have had two Red-Tailed Hawks, Bud and Storm-great hunters.I've also handled many other birds of prey, including a southwestern American species called the Harris' Hawk(I may be receiving my falconry sponsor's Harris' hawk next fall!) I also bowhunt. Wildlife is a major part of my life, as you can see; I want this same wildlife to be here for generations to enjoy!

I also have two dogs, a black labrador retriever named Snickers and a Border Collie named Mikey. They are very loveable, and are always curious when I bring a hawk out.

Thought this forum would be a good way to contribute and help others as well as get help and opinions from others. Hope to make new friends as well!

Falconry Girl
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  #2  
Old 05-21-2008, 08:55 AM
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amstaff amstaff is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

welcome to the forum falconry grl!!!
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2008, 09:07 AM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

Wow, very much welcome on board! Finally somebody to consult who knows what she's talking about! Awesome! Make yourself at home, FalconryGirl!
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2008, 06:21 PM
FalconryGirl FalconryGirl is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

Thanks! The warm welcome is greatly appreciated!

If you guys have any questions about birds of prey, I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability

If anyone would like to see my Red-Tails:

Storm, a Female passage Red-Tailed Hawk(I lost her on a hunt-the equipment we put on their tarsuses(legs), called anklets, jesses, bewits, and bells, are designed so the bird can slip them off if they ever decide to leave us when they are free-flying on a hunt, as Storm did. =( )




Bud, a Male passage Red-Tailed Hawk(My first bird of prey; passed away last autumn due to a lung disease called Aspergillious, commonly called Asper. It's one of mother nature's way for controlling the RT population in the wild, and he had it before I ever trapped him-but we thought we could cure it, but the vets and us(my sponsor and I) were too late. Got some good hunts for him though-fun to see him chase a rabbit!)




Hope you all have a good summer! My summer break started today! =)

FalconryGirl
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:16 AM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

Awesome pictures! How hard was it to get a permit for what you do? What kind of permit is it? It's not a rehab permit, right? And what kind of facilities do you have? Do you have flight cages? I'd love to build one, but money is short and I wouldn't even know where to start.

I plan to get my federal bird rehab permit next year, but I don't think I will include raptors just yet, simply because I don't have the space here. Once I'm out in the country, it's another story. But I'll have to stick inside town for a while longer. Until then I usually just hold the animals and provide first aid, until I can get them to the proper rehabber, which already is a challenge in itself if you don't know how to handle these birds. But I still have all my fingers hehehe.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:17 AM
FalconryGirl FalconryGirl is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

My permit took a very long time to get and is one of the hardest to aquire. It's called a falconry permit, and it allows me to trap certain birds from the wild at certain ages in their life(I can only trap Red-Tailed Hawks in their passage, or first, year)or I can obtain birds from liscensed propagation breeders. When I receive a bird, I "man" it, which means I get it used to being around people. After it has calmed down around people, I start offering it food from my glove, gradually taking my glove farther away from it to where it has to hop to get the food. Once it can hop several times successfully to my glove, I then move 5 ft away, then 10 ft, the 20 ft, then 50 ft and so on until it can go the whole 200 ft on the "creance", which is a very long but lightweight leash hooked to her jesses while the other end is hooked to a weight, so it can't fly away when it's really spooky during training.Once it flies very successfully to me on the creance, I take it off of the creance and free-fly it! During this time I also lure train it, which is something I swing that looks like an animal and has fresh meat on it that it knows it will always get a full crop on(the crop is an area below the bird's beak that stores to food until it goes down into the stomach)This is when I'm ready to take it hunting. When I hunt with it, I let it fly up to a tree freely and it learns to watch me. I, and others who come along sometimes, take long sticks and hit the brush, hoping to "flush" a cottontail..and when the hawk sees that cottontail, the race is on!!

But to acquire the permits took me for ever: First off, you need to know that You have to aquire a state falconry permit AND a federal falconry permit. I called in to my local conservation dept, and the first thing I asked about was a Falconry Info Packet(all states should have this!) After reading books about the birds and studying up with the packet, you have to take a federal falconry exam, and pass by at least 80%(it's so hard, only 1% pass it. The first time I took it, I got a 79% and they make you wait 2 months to retake it. Next time I took it, I got an 84%!) Now once you pass your exam, you have to find a falconry sponsor, or someone who is a general or master falconer(There are three stages of falconers:apprentice, general, and master.) These are very hard to obtain, seeing as I can count on my hand how many I know in my area. If you're lucky enough to find a sponsor, then you can go meet their birds, go hunting, help out, etc. to get a feel for falconry. If you decide it's right for you, then you can start building a mews(a small shed-like building made for birds of prey)that includes a window iwth veritcal bars, various carpet-covered perches, good pragravel flooring, sturdy outside covering and softer inside covering, etc.
The weathering area is where the bird can safely be outside to "weather". it usually looks like a dog pen with a covered top and a perch in the middle and a leash, so the bird can move around but wont strike the ends of its wings on the fencing. Once you've built all this, you need to get all your equipment: glove, anklets, jesses, leash, swivel, bewits, bells, lure, bath pan, bow perch, a giant hood(a box they are put in for travelling) etc. After you have your facilities and equipment, you have toeep call the conservation dept to come and inspect it. If they say it's okay, then you can go ahead and apply for your permits.
Keep in mind you have to find a specialized bird vet, you have to have fresh food, you have to take this bird hunting-it's NOT a pet, but a wild animal, you can't be scared to get hurt, this is a big commitment-you will be sponsored for a minimum of two years(if your 16 or older) or even 4 years(you can start at 14) and basically your sponsor makes to majority of the decisions for you, like what type of bird you'll take and such.(I have the choice to take a Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, or American Kestrel, and almost all sponsors, including mine, choose Red-Tails to take for thier apprentices.) Once you reach your 2nd year of apprenticeship, though, you usually get more freedom in making choices-this depends on your own sponsor. Keep in mind as well that having a bird of prey is VERY schedualized; you must weigh it everyday, seeing as it's weight will affect how hungry it is-how well it will train today or hunt today(hungrier=will be more likely to chase that cottontail) also, it's food(if its not whole you have to add crushed vitamin powder to it) has to be weighed as well, so you know how much you feed your bird and how that will affect his weight and stuff. Also, you cant use a number of types of meat, including hamburger. I typically use phesant, duck, and beef heart.(hamburger is different).
So yeah, I think I touched all the basics.
Do keep in mind this is not getting a PET but a WILD ANIMAL.

Hope I answered everything.

FG
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  #7  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:19 PM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

Wow, that all sounds very complicated and a lot of effort. Thanks for the all in the info!!! Much appreciated! I now know what permit I definitely am NOT going to get LOL.

But tell me one thing...WHY do you do it? What's the purpose of it all?

I know I take in wild animals that are injured or orphaned in order to release them back into the wild.
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:30 PM
FalconryGirl FalconryGirl is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

Why do I do it...hmm. Well, there are many reasons:

1.This sport, falconry, dates back thousands of years, and it's neat and rewarding to be doing the same thing some people did many generations ago.

2.Conservation Efforts: Falconry has made a good impact on people-when people see these birds face to face, can touch their feathers, watch them hunt, and see how beautiful and intelligent they are, they are more likely to want to conserve these beautiful and awesome creatures.

3.Helping the creatures: Take a Red-Tail, for instance: In the wild, their life expectancy is only 2 years. 9 out of 10 Red-Tails, supposedly, will die every year. But when falconers trap these birds, take them in, train them, etc. they are seen by vets, get good, vitamin-enriched food, etc. that makes them very healthy. Many of us falconers will release our Red-Tails after a couple of years of having them, so we contribute a good, healthy, strong, potentially breeding-ready, Red-Tail to the Red-Tail population.

4.It's a great and rewarding way to get close to animals and tell others about them, and I get to see them hunting every week, whereas the average person sees a hawk hunting much much less.

5.It's taught me so much: patience, understanding, humbling, responsibility, etc.

That's pretty much why I do this lovely sport

FG
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:36 PM
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MissDolittle MissDolittle is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

Lots of good reasons, I like it. The only thing that bothers me is the word "sport". Animals and sport and one sentence makes me cringe, because it usually means the animal is exploited or even killed. I see that is not necessarily the case here, but why is it called a sport?
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  #10  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:52 PM
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amstaff amstaff is offline
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Default Re: Hello, Everyone!

that stuff is very cool...i didn't know how difficult it was to obtain a license to work with birds of prey. i see a trial hunt every year at the renn. faire. thank you for the great info!!
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