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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Post Abatement

I have returned from Miami and have been home a week.  But, not settling down.  Getting new toy hauler ready for the road with packing and the old camper emptied, it is just like moving.  All of the stuff you accumulate over the years comes back right in your face.  I will not frequent thrift stores, my biggest weakness in accumulating too much stuff I don't need.  I have reduced my clothes (my biggest part of the stuff by about 80% and kitchen by about 30%.
I have also sent my post abatement survey and thank you via email to the client.  I hope and am always curious as to how the pest bird behavior is altered after the hawks are gone.  Now off for our summer tour.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday, April 18th, 2013, warm, mixed sun and clouds.    Took birds on walking and both flight patrols.  Went to the playground with walking patrols to assess further the nesting bird situation.   A few grackles nesting are in the area.    I took both falcons on separate patrols   Then the hawks came out for evening patrols.  Flew 2 Harris hawks for evening patrols.   The pool area has fewer birds than ever each evening.   Then wrapped things up for the night.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013:  Sun/clouds mixed.   Got the hawks down that morning, did some walking patrols, then per request of the management was asked to conduct flight patrols at the play field.   The nesting birds dive a passers by and is a nuisance to them.  I then  concentrated on the large play/soccer field at one end of the island.  Flew 2 Harris hawks from T post to T post to deter the birds. The area was busy with families, as it is a green space for the residents here.  The kids of course loved seeing the hawks.  I had to be careful with where the hawks flew.   When the play area got really busy, It was decided  that I conclude the flight patrols for the evening.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday April 17, 2013:  Warm, not as humid, mixed clouds.  Got up at 5:00 a.m.  to get the hawks that had stayed out all night.   Both had made kills.   The telemetry was working just fine, I had just put in fresh batteries in the transmitters on the prior day.   I first put their transport boxes on a bell cart.  I also used a bungee to secure the boxes, so they do not bounce when being rolled around.  Then rolled it out to where one was by the seawall at the park adjacent to the beach.  I again used the T posts, especially that 16 foot long one, garnished with a piece of food.  She was still reluctant, flew back and forth from the T post to the tree.   So a whole frozen quail was placed in her box to entice her down.  I must let her eat the entire quail as a reward.  She is my best hawk, all business, no affection.   The second one was in the banyon tree at the exit.  This is a favorite place for them to hang out when being flown.   He was enticed with a whole frozen day old chick and came down readily off the long T post.  I then set them out, cleaned the enclosures and cabana area.
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013:   Started with setting out hawks an cleaning enclosures.  Did walking patrols around entire key.  Pest birds around pool were few.  Then evening flight patrols started.   Two hawks are still out camping and an early day will start to retrieve them.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013: Cloudy, rainy, humid, low 80's.    Got up extra early and was delayed getting the hawks out due to the event from yesterday at the beach.  Crews were moving equipment out so did not start setting up until around 10:00.   Sat hawks out to clean enclosures and the general area.   Hawks got a good rain shower.  Then afternoon patrols were rain delayed as well.    

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bath Time:   Today started with a bath with all of the birds, then walking patrols started.   Flying patrols were cancelled, due to the generators producing fumes for the event at the beach.  But, grackles were very few today in the pool or beach area.
Saturday, April 13th, 2013:  Cloudy, low 80's humid, impending storms.  Placed hawks in boxes in cabana, and am now waiting form the storms to appear and pass.  Evening patrols will start after the rains.  
Saturday, April 14th, 2013:  Cloudy, rain predicted during the day.  Hawks were kept in enclosures until after the rains passed.   Then evening patrols started.   Hawks were flown around park area and were again very responsive and worked together as a team to deter the scolding grackles.   They were not independent but kept within site and sound of each other.   When the sun set, the hawks flew back to the cabana where their enclosures to be put to bed.  I followed them and they gladly went to bed before dark.  It is great to have them working in such coordination and knowing their routines.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013:   Warm, humid, mixed clouds and sun, low 80's. Walked out with the birds setting up. Got the normal diving/scolding from the grackles by the exit from the hotel entrance.   Started the day early with setting the hawks out and cleaning the enclosures, and general cleaning.   Got them out for a few hours, then did walking patrols.  Birds at pool and beach are lower in number.  Then after 5:00 the evening patrols and flights started.  Hawks worked in harmony.  One would fly and land in the area by the banyon.  She would be mobbed and the others would run 'interference' and keep the grackles from mobbing her.  Watching the coordination of the hawks work in harmony was something to see.   They then followed to the beach are and flew right back into their sleeping boxes right after sunset.  Spoke with a few guests about the purpose of the presence of the birds.  Photos to follow.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Some Videos and photos:  
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013:  Warm, low 80's humid and mixed sun and clouds.  Hawks were set out and concentrated on strolling patrols until the evening.  Then evening patrols and flight patrols were started.   Hawks have their favorite spots to fly and the grackles know that.  The hawks single out certain trees and posts and the grackles are mobbing, but the hawks move around, adjusting their positions.   Then darkness started to come and the hawks flew straight back to their boxes for the evening.   A good day.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday April 8th, 2013.  Got hawks out, cleaned enclosure and general maintenance.   Then started flying hawks around pool and patio, plus beach area.   The grackles now know me and mob me as I walk past them, with out without the hawks.  Then I let one hawk up.  She landed in the middle of the tree in the adjacent park.  I looked and saw a pigeon on the ground.  She immediately went for it.  I was surprised, for this hawk seems to have diminished hunting skill/desire.  I immediately grabbed hawk and pigeon, for there were people in the park.   Said a hurried sorry and took both back to the holding area.   I then noted that the pigeon is emaciated and very ill.  I did NOT let the hawk start feeding on it, due to the risk of disease.  I dispatched the pigeon, wrapped it up and disposed of it.  Then evening flights started, flew until sundown at the walkway by the parking garage.  Security did a photo op session at the gatehouse.  And was finished for the day.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sunday, April 7th 2013:   Warm, Mixed Clouds, Sun,  and low 80's    Did morning patrols around pool and Sunday brunch area.    Winds got stronger and hawks kept on heading to area by exit to hotel and Banyon tree.  The grackles were very noisy  and mobbing the hawk and then the winds got stronger.  Today there was a large children's party in the park.  Flights were minimized during the day after that.  Then evening patrols were started at the walkway at the parking garage.  I got a call from Security that a baby bird had been found by some residents that had fallen from the nest.  I met with the residents and saw it was a fledgling green heron.  They saw the bird fall from the nest behind the office building across the street.   They could not reach the nest to get it back in.  The extra long 16 foot T post came in handy again.   Security kindly got the pole for me while we walked to the nest area, where there was also a sibling in the nest.   The baby bird was placed on the post  by security and it was lifted back to it's nest that evening.   A good day to help a baby bird thrive and survive.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Saturday, April 6th, 2013:   Started as a beautiful, cool morning, with few clouds.   Got the hawks out to weather for a couple of hours before flights started.   Flew 2 hawks in the pool area, where the local grackles started harassing them.  This kept the grackles away from guests at both the pool and beach areas.   The hawks were busy chasing the taunting grackles in the trees, the grackles were above the hawks.  Then, one hawk connected with a grackle.   She ate her meal in the tree and hung around all day.  Later in the day, hawks were all put up in the trees.  The grackles were then overwhelmed with all hawks in the area.  One could see how the hawks work together as a team.   I then started to call the hawks down that evening and realized that a second hawk had also caught a grackle.   She was a bit difficult to get down, but eventually did.  Went to see about the roosting grackle situation, but saw very few grackles.  Will start out early next morning to see the early morning grackle situation.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Friday, April 5th, 2013:   Rain threatening, so all areas were quiet.  Flew the Harris hawks for about 2 hours prior to the rains.  Then the rains started and I kept them in their enclosures.   As I was putting the all of them away for the evening.  I happen to see the wild peregrine dive at a bird over the water just beyond the seawall at the beach area.  Falconers' luck or maybe I just have my eyes in the sky all of the time.  Photos from the area will be posted later when I figure out how to retrieve them. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013:  Humid, warm to hot and breezy, cloudy.  It was cloudy nearly all day. I set out the hawks and cleaned their enclosures  Few guests were outside at the pool area until late lunch, early dinner.  And patrols were not until later in the day.  I took a walk around the Key to see the things in the daylight.  Since my prior walks were after dark, patrolling for birds or looking for wayward hawks.   Then I flew the Harris hawks back and concentrated around the pool area.   Around 5:00 a tornado watch was posted, I looked at the radar and decided to put the birds up for their safety in the truck.   An early evening,  Got some sleep at least 8 hours for a change.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wednesday, April 3rd 2013:  Warm, low 80's humid.  Partly Cloudy.  Light/moderate winds.

Got the hawks out to weather and started with Tobasco by the pool.  She is my best hawk, but all business.  She landed in the tree above the wall at the pool area.  She chased around any of the grackles that harassed her.  And this seemed to work.  The other grackles came in to tease her rather than spend time looking for food form guests.   But, just as I was going to lunch, I saw the strategy of the grackles.  They ONLY take the brown sugar packets, not the artificial stuff and not white sugar.  They put the packet in the edge of the water in the pool to soften the cover, then eat the contents.  Then flew all of the others in the evening patrols on the walkway.  Back and forth.  I shifted from one hawk to the other, alternating flying them.  Tobasco was getting full, and reluctant, so her sleeping crate was  brought in.  Plus a second hawk (Mercedes) to get the competition factor started.  Tobasco, then flew to a T post then right into her crate for the evening.   

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tuesday, April 2nd 2013:  Set birds out, cleaned enclosures and straightened up the area after yesterdays rain.   I started flight patrols at lunch time around the pool area.  I flew 2 different hawks.  When I put up a second bird, Immediately I heard screeching by the pool.  I rushed over, realizing the hawk had grabbed a grackle, not what I wanted.  The grackle got away and the rest of the grackles were screeching at the hawk.  Not what I wanted to have in the daytime, especially in front of guests.  The hawk was called down and I switched to the other one.    I asked pool staff if I could walk straight through the pool dining area with the birds to deter the grackles.  I felt it depended on the response of the guests.  Some like it some are uncomfortable, I will let their opinion determine what I do.  Evening patrols started at 6:30 after documenting with photos some of the abatement activities.  I wanted to have some good photos of the birds in action, and my newly modified cage for carrying them.  There are still some grackles concentrated in areas, so I flew there, but concentrated on the walkway by the parking garage.  The grackles can see the hawks in the trees from all problem areas, and it is highly discrete.  Yesterday, when down near the park by the second circle.  The hawks just draw a lot of attention, especially from kids. I am more comfortable being less conspicuous with fewer grackles in the area.  Especially if the hawk connects with a grackle.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 1st, 2013.  Day started with rainy weather coming in.  I cleaned, and got the hawks out to enjoy the morning.  Then weather started to come in and I put them up.   Rain lasted for about 2 hours then cleared in the late after noon.   I then started some patrols around the pool area, but there were few guests, hence little food attraction for the pest grackles.    The cadge was further modified with pick resistant perch surfaces to prevent the padding from being shredded.  Evening patrols started around the key started at 6:30.  A few grackles were near the second circle and the hawks were flown back and forth to establish the hunting territory.   Hawks were out until 8:00. p.m.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

A good day, lovely weather, not too hot and quite busy.  I set out the birds in the morning, then started flight and foot patrols for birds around the pool areas.   Then later in the afternoon, I hear alarm cries from the hawks while I was speaking with some hotel guests.  The hawks were watching a kite being flown in the part that was shaped like a bird.  It had an imprint of a parrot on it but the shape was the issue. The peregrine falcon was making her intruder/alarm call and she needed to be put away to calm down, despite my re-assurances.    Then the kite got stuck in a tree.  I walked over with one of my telescoping poles and got it out of the tree for the residents.   The hawks I think the falcons then realized it was fake.  But the wild peregrine came in to check out what was in her territory, she stooped (dove)  the kite without connecting, apparently realized it was not real and moved on to St. Louis to land.

Evening patrols started at 6:30.   With one to two Harris hawks at a time.  The walkway by the parking garage is an excellent place to start.  The hawks get high in the trees, and can scan both the bridge and the first and second circles.  Also, they are visible by the roosting grackles.  Which I am happy to say are less and less.  I scanned for droppings from overnight roosting, and they are far fewer in numbers.