Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cooler weather beautiful days.

Boca Raton Beach Club.  Blog. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015: 

Cooler weather prevailed, making it MUCH nicer to be outside.  I actually had to wear a jacket throughout mid morning.   The hawks were out by 7:15 a.m.  And they were enjoying the cooler weather.  Few guests were dining, and I kept the grackles away.  The area got busy fast and grackles were vocalizing that food was available.  So, I ate a quick lunch.  And was back switching hawks back and forth all day long.   This was a very busy day.  And I kept two in the air until  serving was done.  I really enjoyed being cooler weather and am getting use to being on my feet all day.  I still have to rest. And sit, but I definitely make sure I stand on the mulch area, and rock back and forth to help the out.  I was tired at the end of the day, but not exhausted like I was when I was in the heat.  Staff always make sure I had water to drink.  The cups on the T posts really come in handy for making sure the hawks get a good amount of water too.  A good day. 

Sunday March 29, 2015.  An even cooler morning, lovely.  Again the hawks were loving the cooler weather.  Not as busy early, and I was able to chat some with security at the north gate.   The hawks again flew all day long, rotating them in pairs.  Later when the crowd got busy.  I kept the two ones which are best around people.  They stayed up in the trees.  The youngest sitting the pool rules sign and other structures.  She does not like sitting in the palms.  The breeze picked up to the yellow flag warning.   I checked the weather and the wind was 16 mph sustained speeds.   I had to be careful that the hawks were not blown around too much.  I kept them up as long as I felt safe. The hawks took perches next to trunks of trees to avoid the winds. When the winds increased to 19 and above.  I had to bring them back in.  But the winds were adversely affecting grackles and outside dining as well.   I did not want them injured or landing in an undesirable place, blown about by strong winds.  So they were put up for the day.   Earlier in the day Guests of course were asking questions,   and with my curious outfit with the wide hat, very dark sunglasses, vest and T post.  I cannot help but to draw attention.  Kids loved the hawks and I got good feed back from guests and members who have seen the bird situation before I arrived.  I was glad to get an evening walk in with my dog on the lovely night. 

Monday,  March 30, 2015.  Again, lowered humidity, but not as cool, but still refreshing in the morning.  Sunny, and warm but not too warm.  I flew the hawks in the morning, and it was calm.  They did well.  After lunch, I came out to quite a bit of wind, and was careful with them.    The male flew around the south area to the condos and loading dock at the inlet.  I went around to follow him.  As I was putting the other hawk up. I got a call that the wayward hawk had flown into a window and was disoriented.  I walked quickly to the south loading dock and one of the employees was holding him.   The hawk is a gentle one and seemed ok.  They told me he bumped into a window.  Often they try to land on the sill, but not realizing that there is glass in the way.  Then he flew to another window, probably trying again to land on the sill.  He landed on the ground and he was ok.  Likely tired from the efforts.  Flying is a skill that takes a LOT of energy.  Even wild birds fly only about 20 per cent during the day.  I flew him some later, but made sure he was ok. But the winds stayed within safe speeds and I was able to fly the hawks all day long.  

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015.    I started a bit later.  I walked the area, but few guests were dining outside for breakfast.  Grackles were very light, maybe two at early morning.  I started flying on such a nice calm day.  They did great, flying back and forth and staying high in the palms.  After lunch, things got busy.  I flew the oldest and youngest for about 2 additional hours.  The oldest in the palms, the youngest that always sits on structures.  A favorite is the pool rules signs.    The oldest then started moving to the enclosure area on the north lawn and I then started again with the other two.  One followed me in the palms.   The other stayed back at the North lawn area.  I flew her basically alone.  And there were many guests.  Several times, I stood around dining guests, to keep the grackles away, while they were away from their tables.  I kept them up until 4:00.  Went back to the North lawn.  I was assuming that the one hung back in the area.  I crated up the one hawk and sure enough the truant was right by the boxes, awaiting my return and he came in readily.   Another good day.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Windy and Rainy

Thursday and Friday, March 26 and 27.

Thursday,  again I was up early and got the Red-tailed hawk out by 8:00.  I walked with him to get him out, stretch his wings and help as a deterrent.   The grackles were fewer, and winds were picking up as well.  I then got two Harris hawks out, and they followed for a while about an hour or so, sat in the palms.  Then they started heading back to their enclosures.  It was a hot day, mixed clouds and sun.  Likely they were thirsty and I offered them water.  I took time to modify the T post with cups and luckily I had velcro to secure them.  The hawks really learned to appreciate having some water during their flights.  I just drop a piece of hawk food in the cup.  They learn that they get fresh water that way too and get a drink.  Then I took the other two Harris hawks out.  They flew well.  The oldest sitting in the palms, the youngest sitting on one of the canopy tarps.  Both using branches or trunks to block the strong and increasing winds.   They flew very little, avoiding being blown about uncontrollably.  Later in the day, I start seeing whitecaps on the water well out from the waves, my signal that it it getting too windy for the hawks and they were put up for the evening.

Friday,  Again I was out early.  And walked with the falcons on the glove this time.  The female is very vocal and her voice makes the grackles nervous.  She is an imprint calls to me in a  courtship greeting.  I would wave her wings and the grackles would shift.  But after about an hour, they learned that the  flying would not occur with her.    I flew two Harris hawks, for a while, until they got out of the wind on the north side of the building.  I put them up in their enclosures, one actually flew right back into his enclosure.  I then brought the male falcon out on the fist,  also giving him some time out.  I just happened to be talking to some guests from England.  And a Cooper's hawk cruised the area right by the buffer zone.  A female, looking for grackles to hunt.  I was glad to have help from the wild hawks and always try to help them out by making the pest birds flush.  I noted she landed in a palm, then when she saw that I noticed her.  She flew back around the south beach area.  The grackles then wised up the  falcon on the fist and I knew it was time to try the Harris hawks again.  I flew the oldest and youngest.  The oldest again sitting in the palms by the main pool.  The youngest also sitting next to me on her T post on the canopies over the tables.   Winds were stronger and the yellow wind advisory flaw was out.  I let the hawks fly around some, but they had enough of the strong winds and they flew back to their enclosures.  Then sprinkles started and cleared the pool area.  It was mid/late afternoon and guests were getting out of the rain.  I then finished up the day a bit early.  Make some necessary phone calls to get some business done.  I am looking forward to an early day on Saturday and am getting extra sleep to be ready at sunrise.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sunrise flying today

Up at 5:00, walked the dog and then drove up and set the hawks up in their boxes.  Showered and got ready.  I am coordinating my activities to minimize the time consuming back and forth to the camper and truck.  I got laundry together, the day's attire as well.  I started flying two hawks around  7:30.  They were still in 'too early' mode and flew without much enthusiasm.  Few grackles were out.  There were few outside dining guests.   I went the central bar, trying to encourage the hawks to follow.  One did, the other stayed back.  After about 45 minutes of trying to get both encouraged.  (There were only a handful of grackles about).  I put them up.  Outside dining was still light.   So, I took my laundry down to be sent out.   Then back to the beach area with the oldest and youngest hawks.   They both did well.  The youngest, always follows me.  The oldest stays high in the palms. and that is a good deterrent for grackles.   Families with kids are the grackles favorite guests.  The kids (and sometimes adults too) toss food discretely around their tables.  This can thwart my efforts with the hawks.  After a couple of hours I was feeling sleepy so  I asked for an unsweetened tea with ice.  I was drinking it and the youngest hawk wanted some too.  She was thirsty.  Staff kindly got me a cup full of water and she drank out of it readily. Then the oldest hawk joined her, sharing in drinking water, actually taking turns.  Of course, guests love watching the hawks and how they get along.   I was thinking that I need to put cup holders on the center top of the T posts, so I can offer the hawks water without having them go back to the staging area.  Looking at the PVC pipe at the T post.   I am thinking a 2 ½  inch PVC (large enough to hold a 12 oz cup) end cap (Flat type) screwed into the center T of the post would be perfect for placing a cup of water for the hawks to drink from.  Management came over and showed me where dining guests were attracting grackles,  tables with children.  I kept the hawks up until the mid-day rush was over.  Took them back for a well earned break.  Sat them out to weather and bathe.  Then I cleaned their enclosures and wiped down the golf cart.  Dinner beckoned so the hawks were put up for the evening.  

Beach Hawks

Tuesday, up early, placed the hawks in the staging area and got ready for the day.  I started them at around lunch, 11:00 and had two out at a time.  They sat in the palms by the area where the staff brings out food.   For management told me that is an area where the grackles hang out for food.  I spent quite a bit of time there.  I was able to, because the fishing line deterrents had been removed.  I place 4 hawk boxes on the golf cart so I could easily switch out which birds I use.   I flew until 4:00 that day.  Management wants the shift to start earlier, around 7-7:30 at the breakfast buffet.  For that is where the trouble with the birds starts.  I will be out early tomorrow.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New venue, South Florida

New venue in South Florida.  This is spring break season, with families with kids.  Activities  are scheduled for multi-generational interests  It is a hotel and condo association on the water.  Three pools, several bars and outside eateries in the complex.  I drove down saturday with my camper. Electric was ready and although late, one of the electricians make sure I had power and water. Sunday, I met with management to arrange where to set up and had orientation and logistics of where the staging area for the birds on sunday.   The nice part is being issued a golf cart with a cargo area in the back, where I can set up the hawks in their enclosures to have them out by the pool areas.   This is a Florida Wildlife Commission protected beach with FWC approved lighting and native plant landscaping buffer for the protection of nesting sea turtles and other wildlife.  That means the beach areas have diminished lighting facing the water.  I am setting up  the staging area at the due north side of a building where the hawks are in shade all day. Management has kindly issued me keys to the main gate I will be using and to the cart as well.   Maintenance got their beach tractor to move my camper in the designated spot.   My truck was too long to get it in place. I  got the hawks out to weather, set up the telemetry in preparation for flying the hawks.   I flew in the afternoon in two shifts.  Utilizing the cart at the staging area by the north lawn shower.   I flew the youngest hawk at a time  to get them oriented to the area, staying on the grassy area by between the pool area and the landscaping sea grape buffer.   She did fine.  Of course lots of attention was drawn by the presence of the hawks.  I explained what the purpose was to guests.  I then flew the oldest hawk whom is an excellent flier and athlete.  After dinner break at 4:00.  I flew the other two hawks together. I wanted all 4 hawks to get some air time on their initial day out.  There were  fewer guests were about the pools, due to clouds forming.  The staff commented to me that grackles and bird activity is already diminished, starting about the time I set the hawks out to weather.  A good start.