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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day two. Pepper farm

Got up early, and ready for the day.  I took time to weather the hawks behind the camper.  For they needed some time to bathe and drink.  I kept them there until about 8:00 then put them back in their enclosures.  I was planning to weather them prior to dawn under lights, but the lights were out.  I got to the farm at 9:00.  I did not get stuck today.  I drove quickly through the sugar sand areas, then did not drive around the farm. I parked by the equipment and left the truck there.  I walked around for my abatement tasks with the hawks.   My truck is a highway towing truck not set up for off-road conditions.  The grackles are smart and stubborn.  I set up all 4 t posts (love the extra height of the 16 foot one) and th e 8 foot high rotating rings.  The hawks use them a lot.  I saw this morning a wild kestrel, hunting bugs around the farm equipment.  She also made the grackles move.  When I put up the hawks, the resident red-shouldered hawks often get territorial, always vocalizing.  Sometimes diving at the hawks or falcons.  Smaller raptors are a peril with the RSH.  I have had a barbary falcon lost for 4 days from the RSH chasing him around on his initial flight.  I flew the hawks and the grackles move --- well eventually.  They do move but it takes time.  They mostly shift around then when the hawks don't leave after a while.  The grackles do move one.  My one 'silly' harris hawk who is a clumbsy flyer was taken to the back standing water.  Some coots were flushed and flew after them  I was surprised at her doing that.  For she is not a confident hawk, but she sticks with me and is very reliable.  The second oldest hawk was also being flown and she decided to visit the local red-shouldered hawks.I want to fly the agile male HH and flew him some, but with his weight up.  He was just sitting around.  He HATES the red-shouldered and will chase them if challenged.  When I got the telemetry out.  The farm will be providing me a 4WD so I may get quickly to the areas where I am needed rather than walk.

Note:   These things make the most effective falconry abatement business model.   Housing with electric and drinkable water  and sewer (or portable toilets) at the flight fields and areas.   I discussed this with some western abatement falconers and they agree.  Staying at the flight field is crucial for effectiveness.  A shaded weathering area for the hawks to take break, bathe and drink.  And a 4WD vehicle for taking the hawks quickly to where they are needed.  Some farms realize that abatement is part of their pest management and have set up quarters for the falcones and a fenced, covered weathering yard, and even some falconry mews at their farms.  This is thee first abatement job I've ever had to drive to to start my day.  Not just step out my camper in the morning at I am at work.

For abatement is a very time consuming profession.  Personal time, even shopping for supplies, laundry and meals are very limited during abatement hours.  

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