Sorry for the lack of updates! To me it feels like it hasn't been that long and nothing much has happened, but that's because for the better part of the past two weeks, it's been too warm to fly Pele reliably. I think that's finally ended, though - it better have, anyway. It's November now, so summer really ought to be over. Freaking South, man, the weather here is just stupid sometimes, haha. The warm weather also has meant the sparrows still haven't really gone down into the fields yet. There's plenty of food up north for the migrants, and plenty of food in town for the ones that stay here year-round. Thankfully that's beginning to change. I'm also seeing a sad lack of rabbits so far - there were so many early in the summer, but I think the extended drought we had must have hit them hard. We have yet to go back to our best rabbit field though, so I'm hoping numbers are good there.
10/27 - 400g, #3, a mystery bird (she ate it before I could see what it was). This weight is still a little high for her right now, as she seemed nervous and not willing to let me come very close after catching the bird. A juvenile female Coopers swung by to see what we were up to and perhaps score an easy meal, but Pele shouted at her and the younger bird turned and flew the other way.
10/31 - 398g, #4. One of those flights in which a sparrow decided to pop up right in front of us and try and outfly her and was promptly stomped back into the ground. That, my friends, is why juvenile house sparrows don't often live long.( What you lookin' at?Collapse )
11/1 - 394g, #5. We went to FP2 this time, since we hadn't been there in a while. It was really slow, though. Pele did great and sat on the glove, ready at a moment's notice to chase anything she saw, but there just weren't many birds. At one point she missed a bird that flushed, came back to the glove, and was so wired up with the need for something to die that she bolted off the fist at a large flying grasshopper. And then suddenly realized she didn't want it and dove off into the grass instead, haha. She had a really excellent chase on another bird and was right on its tail, until it dumped into the grass to try and lose her. She went right for it and it flushed again, and she chased it in spirals until it made it to the trees. That flight left her panting hard, which is good because she needed the workout! She later managed to catch one in some heavy brush, which always impresses me. Stuff I can barely walk through, she can dive right into and push through it better than those little birds. I have photos but... they turned out really blurry and/or washed out. Bad lighting I guess.
11/2 - 390g, #6&7. Decided her weight was right and so was her behavior, so it's time to start catching multiples. Went to FP3, which was really slow, unfortunately. It's still just too early in the year. After about half an hour of looking, she managed to grab a sparrow, so I let her eat it and we continued on. Another 15 minutes, and we flushed what she and I both thought was a rabbit. She bound to its head, and they tumbled, and then it started hissing and snarling. Crap! She'd caught a cat! It was a half-grown orange tabby, about the same size and color as a cottontail, that had been completely invisible in the grass until it bumped. I honestly don't even remember what happened here, because of how fast everything went. I managed to separate the two of them, grabbed the cat around the ribs, and threw it, and thankfully Pele didn't try to chase it again. I think all three of us were pretty shocked! The cat ran off, Pele was unhurt, and I only had a couple small scratches. Really lucky on all accounts. Please, please, if you have cats, keep them indoors. Please. I can't say this enough. They're a danger to everything out there.
Also I'm really sad that wasn't a rabbit because rabbit stew and parkin for 11/5 would have been perfect.
11/3 - 385g, #8&9. I was a little worried Pele would be low on energy at this weight - she'd burned more during the day than I had anticipated. But it was another 80 degree day, and at this weight, those temperatures are actually doable. We went back to FP3 and doubled again, this time both sparrows, so she got to eat her fill. The second flight was the best - she chased the bird, it pulled up into the air, and she went vertically up after it, and reached her feet above her head to try and grab it! She missed, but it was fun to watch. The sparrow tried to go down into the grass and hide, and Pele followed right on its tail and grabbed it in the grass. Had it just kept going up, it would have escaped. Rookie mistake.( And now, picspamCollapse )