Yesterday the Fatfinch took its first step into the ancient sport of falconry. Actually, it wasn’t for the sport at all. It was a morning with a falconer who was teaching the attendees a little about raptors. As a bonus he flew two falcons and a Harris Hawk. As an additional bonus we got to see a little four-inch rattlesnake. We can’t show you a photo of the rattlesnake. It was heading for a little yucca plant as fast as it could go and the only photo we had time to get is a blur. We can show you some photos of the falcons and the hawk though.
This is a hybrid Gyrfalcon and Peregrine. The bird was part of a cross breeding program designed to assist Peregrines; which, as all of you know were almost wiped out by DDT. It was early in the morning and the bird was unable to find a thermal so it did not gain sufficient height during its flight to do a stoop. Neither did the second falcon, a juvenile-Red-naped Peregrine. There is some research that indicates that Peregrines and other raptors may actually be able to see thermals upon which they will ride to great altitudes for their hunting. It would something like us being able to see steam rising from a hot cup of coffee. Hmmm. A hot cup of coffee sounds really good. This may be a shorter post than originally planned.
The final flier was a 13 year old Harris Hawk. Sadly none of the humans along were able to scare up any rabbits for the hawk but a good time was had by all anyway. The hawk did not see the baby rattlesnake so it was happy as well.
Just as exciting as the morning with the falcons was the afternoon sighting of a juvenile Aplomado Falcon. Photos here tomorrow.