Search This Blog

Monday, April 20, 2015

Friday, and Saturday, April 17, 18,  2015:   Hot, high 80’s and sunny.   I am into the routine of walking hawks and falcons on the glove during morning dining.  Then, flying after meals are served outside.  It was calm early , then breezes pick up.  I am also making sure that I fly at the south condo area.   Although the hawks do have to fight and deal with the strong winds on the point.  The hawks move into less windy areas such as the railings and even the furniture.  I was concerned that residents would not appreciate hawks in such areas, but keeping the grackles away is the more important goal.  I also make sure I stay in my favorite breezy and shady spot in the center beach of the area for maximum comfort for me and the hawks.  Plus it is the most effective area for the hawks to be located for maximum effect. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015.  Again having the hawks and falcons out for walkabout patrols in the morning.   I was asked to go over to the golf club to look into the goose (Egyptian) situation there.  From what I have read, escaped Egyptian geese are establishing feral colonies all over Florida and other areas.  They are smaller than Canada geese.  But issues are the same, many birds, droppings, noise, etc.  In the afternoon, the hawks were taken over to the course.  Geese are very difficult to deter, they have two factors in their favor.  Safety in numbers, for they will gang up on a predator, pinch with their bills and wing whip adversaries.  And they just take refuge in the water, where few predators can follow them (except alligators).   The two largest females were put up.  And flown back and forth.  The geese would move about, but they were not going to leave the area.  They just move into the water when threatened.  One hawk plays a ‘game’ by landing on the ground, then flying in ‘jump ups’ to the T post.  Geese would surround her.  And she would lash out at them, but no contact was made.  It was definitely a stand off, with geese just dealing with another predator in their typical fashion.    I will have to do more research on working with the geese.  I think that birds of prey would be part of the management plan, but other techniques will need to be use to deter the geese. 

Monday, Apri. 20, 2015.   Last Day.  I slept in a bit, for I was very tired.  Got up just before 6:00, set the hawks out.  Then got ready for the day.  I walked around with one falcon, then after lunch, I tried to fly 2 hawks.  Winds were picking up, rain was predicted later in the day.  So, I went to flying the youngest hawk.  She stays very close to me and is very reliable.  I relaxed at a table, making phone calls and catching up while she moved about from the T post, railings, roof, etc.  She did well.  There were few grackles at the breakfast buffet, maybe about 2.  And with the storm coming in, few grackles were out an about.  I kept the hawk up until staff started closing the beach and pool area due to the incoming storm.  I though it a good time to start getting ready to return home.  Organizing my things, getting the truck ready to be packed, cleaning the perches, patio and hosing down the golf cart. Rain started and I got wet, but no big deal.   I got every thing in the truck ready to go, organized my clothes for Tuesday’s departure.  I will have engineering help me move the camper with the tractor to a position where I can hook up the truck and easily leave the parking lot. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Helping an injured nightjar today.

Thursday, April 16, 2015:  Warm and calm early.  I walked the dogs, set up the hawks and got ready for the day.  I walk out by the main beach exit to see if any grackles have started with the dining guests.  No grackles early, even with guests dining.   I went to the hawks and started walkabout patrols with falcons on the fist.  I was told by a guest that a hawk like mine had hit  a window and was stunned.  I of course was holding one of the falcons and was limited with what I could do.  The guest covered the bird which turned out to be a night jar that had hit the window and was injured.  I saw break on the side ofthe gaping mouth on the poor bird, and it has a strange moan when handled.  I asked for a cardboard box to put the bird in.  I then took the falcon back to it’s enclosure and came back for the injured nightjar.  I noted fracture on the right side of the lower bill,   Guests helped me box up the bird, then looked for the number of the closest rehabber.  One was located in the Lighthouse Point area.  The boxed nightjar  with a note on it’s history was placed in the holding /storage area by the north lawn until my abatement shift was over.  The hawks did well, flying in the wind and keeping birds away.  As usual, families with kids bring the grackles in and I have to pinpoint the location of the hawks near there.  I stayed in my location behind the bar, using the T post as a perch for the hawks to be in the most effective position all day.  Then I put the hawks up, and proceeded to get the nightjar ready to go to the rehabber.  A guest had kindly offered to take the nightjar, but I ended up taking it to the rehabber.  I needed diesel in my truck so I combined the two trips.  The rehabber had a smart system to save time for wildlife drop offs. Rehabbing wildlife takes many long hours.   She has a nice, shady front porch.  She has a large sign with instructions to place the injured wildlife in the provided dog crates lined with blankets, or leave the box on the porch.  A form to fill out about the wildlife and her business cards as well.  I though that it was a very smart system, for she is likely a very busy person with baby season upon us.  I dropped off the night jar in the box, filled out the form and left my business cards with her.  I then fueled up my truck on the way back and did a short shopping trip as a little break as well.  Packed up my hawks when I returned for the evening.  I was glad to to see the nightjar get the care it will need. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Delightful breezy day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015.   Warming up and a wonderful breeze.  The alarm got me up this morning, for I was worried about the lock situation all night long, walked the dog(s) I tried to get the lock to this morning, but all it did was make me late.  I set up the hawks, and went to shower for the day.  I mentioned to an employee the lock situation in my camper and how I suspect tampering.  He told me to tell security.  I did after showering.  Security met up with me after lunch to take photos of the lock and I demonstrated to him how it is not functioning.  He sad that engineering may be able to help.  Later in the day I got a call for engineering and they will look at it in the morning.   Grackles were light again, with few guests dining. I flew two hawks at a time.  But after lunch, guests with kids bring the grackles right in.  One guest told me that at the main hotel, a grackle takes fries right out of his young infant /toddler son’s hand.  That is how bold they are around kids.  An example of a similar problem was a the National Zoo in DC decades ago.  Small monkeys (I think squirrel monkeys) were free-ranging in the elephant house.  The monkeys would run right up to a child in a stroller and take their food, despite parents trying to chase them away.  The monkeys in the zoo were finally removed due to such problems and enclosed in a display.     I flew the two hawks all day long and rested the two that flew yesterday.  They did well and followed.  I finally found my favorite place to be when the hawks are up.  It is on the south main gate in the late afternoon and mid afternoon, the south side of the gate behind the bar.  I have shade, mulch to stand on for my sore feet rather than the pavement.  A great breeze to keep cool.  I can fasten the T post with ball bungees to free both my hands, I have water for the hawk and myself .  And it is just perfect.   I get to engage the guests about the technique as they enter the beach area too.    And the hawks are in perfect position for maximum effectiveness.    They flew and I made sure I went to the south beach boardwalk to be effective at the condo area.  Breezes got stronger so I was making sure the hawks were comfortable as well.  The point by the south condo area has a very strong breeze.  The hawks want to sit on the rails or furniture to keep from fighting the winds, so I keep a bit further to keep them effective without landing structures.    I then went back, had dinner.  I wen to the camper, walked the dogs, took care of my supply order and waited until it got cool enough to put the hawks up for the night.  No achy feet tonight, thanks to making sure I stand on mulch, not pavement.  

Toured the Golf Course

Tuesday, April 14, 2015:  Breezy and flying 2 hawks at a time.  Got the dog(s) walked then the hawks set out.  After showering.  I walked with one falcon, but noted very few grackles and guests were few as well.  I sat the falcons and red-tail out for the early morning before the heat set in.  I was still slow when I put them back.  I decided to take the shuttle to the main hotel to look at the golf course geese situation.  There are nesting and resident Egyptian geese throughout the course.   I went around with the one of the supervisors name begins with R.  He kindly took me all around the course and showed the nesting sites and resident geese and other water birds, both native and non native.  One Egyptian goose has a splayed leg, walks funny and seems to be just fine.  But calls often come in from members who are concerned about its welfare.  I suggested re-homing the bird to a local farm to give the bird a good home. I mentioned to him the site to get information on laws on managing pest native and non-native wildlife.  I then got back to the beach area, had lunch and started flying two at hawks at a time.  They again performed well.  Staying close and in position above or near me.   A couple of hours later, I was by the event hall.  The youngest flew down (glided) and hit the mirrored window at by the windows hall.  She did not hit very hard.   This worries me about her. She was the one that got blown into a window the other day.    She is naïve in her ways, clumbsy in flight, gentle and at times can be a slow learner.    I held her on the fist and did my ‘adversion’ training.  By pressing her up against the reflection to hopefully educate her. I put her and the oldest away for the day.  I flew the others until things were slowing down at the beach for dining.  After putting the hawks away.  I also walk the dogs and get clothes ready for the next day.  When I tried to lock the deadbolt on my camper from the inside, it would not move.  I then tried with the key on the outside.  I would not completely go into the keyhole.  I am suspecting that someone has tampered with the lock on my camper.  The deadbolt needs to be functional and closed for the camper door to stay secure in transport.  The camper flexes and twists on the road and I don’t want the door flying open.  So I will call AAA and have a locksmith look at it after my flights are over. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Feathers everywhere.

Monday, April 13th 2015.   Got up a bit early, walked the dogs then proceded to set up the hawks.   I make sure my spot by the camper was marked to allow me to park my truck right next to the camper.  On the other side, usually the large box truck parks there.  The reason I am so particular about this is to monitor the hawks in their boxes.   Plus I noted that some staffers take lunches and breaks in their cars with the AC and engine running. The exhaust fumes can easily kill the hawks, especially Harris’ hawks.   I stayed in my shorts and T shirt for the cleaning.  For it is dirty, messy work and I do not want to stain my work clothes.   I then proceeded to clean the enclosures and patio area. Molt has started and feathers are everywhere.   I took about an hour and a half to get everything nice and clean.  The hawks sat on their perches while I cleaned.  I then gave them a light shower and some of the hawks (Harris) hopped in their bath pans for a bath and shower.    A truck came up and delivered a new LifeGuard platform. I then changed into my work attire and started flying just one hawk at a time, due to the 15mph plus winds.  She flew well and kept up with me the entire time.  I am always on the watch for guests with children being served.   I was talking to a guest and serving staff pointed out to me that on the south side of the bar, there were grackles gathering.  It was two families with kids and the grackles focus on the dropped or thrown food from the kids.  I mentioned to the staffer to also observe that guests with kids will have extra interest from the grackles.    Winds started to calm down from 17-19 per my phone to 15 mph or so, I put up a second hawk to deter the grackles.  It seemed that lunch was busy at a later time today, so I made sure that both hawks were in position.  I worked my way south to the condo unit, staying just north of the kids pool.  Further south with the winds would have made it difficult for the hawks to stay in control.  I kept the hawks in the area, flying around the cabanas and palms.  Then the hawks start flying back towards the staging area.  I lingered a while longer until the last table was finished eating their meal and the table was cleared.  The guests remained, having just drinks, no food when the hawks started back.   I got some supplies together, fixed a button on one pair of my pants, then at an easy pace, put the hawks away for the evening.   I saw the sky clouding up, so I don’t know if rain will occur or not.