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tomburras

Harris Hawk Blues

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For years now iv wanted a harris hawk but due to the fact I can't gain the knowledge and experience Iv not got one for fear of doing it all wrong. Has anyone on here gained their expertise through books and videos and got one or should it only be done with falconry centre lessons?

 

I love to see the bop shows at game fairs. It's not a phase iv always wanted a harris hawk and want to use one one on ferreted rabbits instead of my shotgun.

 

It's been a many years long interest and I'm constantly looking in the sky for birds of prey and the taught of having my own is awesome.

 

What's the best way to get into keeping a hawk on your own?

 

May sound daft and if this isn't possible then I won't, but I just want to do things right.

 

Cheers. Tom.

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Hi Mate

In my opinion, Falconry Centres can be a bit of a joke. Not everyone who works/runs one know what they are doing.

If I were you, I would join the Yorkshire hawking club or any other local one.

Get out on as many field meets as possible and ask loads of questions.

Genuine people will be only too happy to help someone get started on the right path.

Beware of advice given on forums as its the same again, not everyone who posts loads of advice on the forums know what they are doing.

Read plenty of books such as Glasiers' Falconry and Hawking, Emma Ford's Falconry, just to start with.

It is easier to learn from a mentor, but you can learn through books.

 

Good luck.

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Try to find some one local that will let you tag along and learn the ropes mate

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Cheers guys I'm looking at getting by shed and equipment this month then telemetry next month along with lots of research! Then in few months hopefully my hawk.

 

Cheers, tom.

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It's best to learn a bit first but I'd only been out with Articguns hawk a few times before getting one and my mate has just finished his first season and didn't need any help from me.

I struggled in my first season due to a lack of good hunting ground and a serious lack of quarry. I took my mate out with me this season and guess what!!!! his hawk has caught a good tally of rabbits for him. Good populations of rabbits makes hunting and having some success with these Hawks pretty easy.

 

I think if someone has access to good land then only a pure idiot could completely fail. If you can't provide enough quarry then problems can set in. Now my mate and I have only scratched the surface of what can be done with a Harris hawk, we haven't taken hare for example or made them into good lamping Hawks, and I can only dream of getting mine to wait on like I've seen others do etc etc but we have been going out regularly seeing good sport and our Hawks catch stuff.

 

Basically life is too short to wait for what you dream about doing and as long as you know you can house and look after a hawk and get it flights where it has a chance of catching something then go for it.

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All excellent advice above.....:-) I can only reiterate the importance of land/quarry, if you think you've got enough, you probably haven't! & use your imagination.....when I first started I put card in my local farm shop offering FREE RABBIT CONTROL.....ok a little artistic licence there lol, but it got people calling! Although many of the places I visited were unsuitable, I did get a couple of real gems from it, one of which led to many more places & experiences.....:-)

If you do find a kind of mentor, make sure they are 'open' to other ideas & suggestions, nothing worse than soneone thinking their ways are the only ways......it's just not true!

 

Good luck & once you've caught your first ferreted rabbit with your hawk, you'll never want to use a gun or net again!

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Couldn't agree with accip74's comment about finding an open minded mentor!!

Also really really make sure you have the amount of time that you can actually commit to having a hawk! It's great watching a falconry display and seeing the bird flying back to glove etc, but it's so much more when you actually have your own bird, you have to be commited 110%,

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Yes I'm happy to commit 110% and have land to fly one on. I'll do plenty of studying first and continue to have a good long think bout it.

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the hardest thing you will come across is the weight management, understand this and your almost there, i find that's the only thing you can control no matter how much help you have, people have killed birds by not getting this right,

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Pick out what you want from this first post for a while parted with vladimir my hh so now have no birds left gutted!

 

 

Sent 03 February 2015 - 08:45 PM

 

 

Hi this is some bits ive posted on here before pick out what you want out of it as its a bit general.

 

 

Get a good mentor! Join a club Go out for season or two with them, if you can't get out with them all the time due to work or another do you have time to have a bird?

 

 

 

Telemetry is a must they can be right next to you in cover and you dont see the buggers. Play with it and get to know how it works if fields and woodland learn to pinpoint the beep.

 

 

Feed the bird away from house !! when you get started on the training and try not to fly it in the garden my bird is fairly quiet because of this. I Free lofted for 2 weeks with sight of me around garden but not pestering him just letting him get used to surrounding and noises. He is fed with foodshoot in the side of aviary with no vision of me feeding him then cault up and maned down started on the fist sitting all over touching and jumping to - feeding on the fist. Then transfer to the flying area to do this as soon as possible. Then jumped fed and flown in the field. His sister was maned straight away fed and flown in the back garden by the owner. She screamed all the time. You could hear her inside the cafe we would meet at before field meeting and she was in her box in the van and outside parked down the street!!!

 

 

Bowing is fine but on a short lease so he, she can not pick up a lot of speed if baiting as leg can get pulled with very long leashes as they can pick up a lot of speed before jerking to a stop.

 

 

Not showing the bird where food is coming from is one key to quiet. You can take the bird to the food, put it in different places and take the bird to it!

 

 

If you keep in sight all the time when feeding the bird sees you as a perant and will call for food all the time !!

 

 

 

If you get it wrong harrises are a nightmare if screaming all the time!!

 

 

 

It will be your bird and best you do it your way. Just wanted to try to help you get off to the best start.

 

 

I'm sure your mentor will have his views on this.

 

 

Good luck and enjoy the hunting with the bird. I would also recommend hooding I didn't do this and wish I had. Also ferrets are a god send to produce game as it is very difficult to just walk up enough game, get the bird entered AS SOON AS you can if they learn they can catch from a young age it is a great start.

 

 

With the hooding tacktic I would start as soon as the bird sits on the glove but is still a bit nervous. I left mine till he was sat very confidant on the glove and he is like a snake when the hood is near his head, to confident. I think if its done early the bird is still a little on edge and will accept hooding. You can leave it on for a bit slip it off and spend time sat down with him just slipping it on wait a bit slip it off. More additions ! I would stroke his feet chest wings tail as well so he is confident with you touching him all over, helps with inspecting him under feet wings etc.

 

 

When out in field and feeding bird up that is sat on glove cover food with right hand and pass food to glove from behind glove underneath the birds tail and put to glove this stops the bird baiting forward at the sight of food if you feed him from the front also he will grab out with feet towards the food/your hand, this can make them footy. Get a large cut of leather fold up and put in hawking vest. When hunting and taking bird off prey cover rabbit completely with the leather hold rabbits leg !! Throw a chick head away from bird and it should release its hold on the rabbit and move to the food on floor, scoop up rabbit in to back of vest.

 

 

You can never have enough land to fly on!

 

 

Books are great but nothings quite like the real thing !!

 

 

Most people with large aviaries have pea gravel down sand is good in small weatherings but needs to be kept dry or it just goes to mush! So pea is good. + can be replaced after years. Look at where you will be putting the perches as the bird will projectile poo behind where it sits!! I would recommend lining the inside with fomex or stiff plastic board this can be wiped down easily. Heating is another thing to consider and in the first year they are quite venerable to frost cold + drafts, do not put away wet, hair dryer the bird but dryer must be Teflon free as Teflon will poison the bird and kill it, don't leave bath in in winter. Put perches out of drafts and if very cold you could box and bring the house, worth it as all your hard work will go out the window if they get wingtip / frost bite on wing.

 

 

Also where windows will face, nice to see bird but can contribute to calling if he can see you all the time. I have 30 mm spacing in my bars. Look out for cats on roofs pestering or cat proof roof with nets. I have also made it so I can slide in two shutters. I can have half window when cold and bird can sit at back and full window in summer. Also put window perch below window level bird can see out but poos below window level. Food shoot made from guttering elbow and down pipe is a good idea, have a tray shelf below not to wide but wide enough to catch the food. Save him eating the food off the floor, put Astro turf around the edge and he can perch on it whilst eating. Or you can use a push pull try but make sure he is not sitting on it when you pull it out or between when you push it in

 

 

Just some things to think about.If you are after a bird I would see if there is a falconry club near you and ask the members for a good breeder they would recommend and get a couple of peoples advice about the breeder as there are a lot of breeders and some that will sell you anything!! Get out with the club on field meets do some ferreting for them ask if any one has a Harris you can fly for them.

 

 

 

Touch bird and get to know feel of him if breast is full of meat he is maybe fat and can be dropped a little more in weight use scales as well!!

 

 

If no meat and sharp he is very low in weight fat should not kill him sharp breast to low can!! Again use scales. If he is very sharp in breast (breast bone sticking out = Sharp to touch) and flown he may lack in energy and you will see him fade away and not have power to keep up or fly up. Stop take him back feed small amount and egg yolk from chicks as if he is in trouble Maxine amounts of food can use more energy than he has left to digest the food!!!! yolk and small amount of food to start will pick him up and give him the energy he needs to then eat a larger amount. Repetition manning and confidence is the key for the bird to perform it's not all about starvation. Remember food going threw the birds system can play a key factor when training a young bird. He does well you jump him a lot great you reward a little more food great, next day you weigh him good weight but you try a lot earlier in the day and he's not as good. This may not mean cut his food again. It may mean he still has food going threw his system so not quite as hungry as day before so perceiver rather than starve to death.

 

 

 

Remember the ferrets need energy as well so if it's a long day a drink of water and some yolk from chick will give them energy and keep them hydrated.

 

 

These littler fellers are the un sung heroes and I would say a must for anyone with a hawk.

 

 

 

Always check button ends on leashes

 

 

Cope beak before putting up for moult

 

 

Check inside birds mouth and take a peek when feeding him, Vlad managed to get a cartilage loop from a pheasants wind pie over the end of his tongue and study at the bottom of it cutting off the blood supply, saw it when feeding yellow black and blue tongue !! Vets!!

 

 

Remove tail mount before moult as Vlad managed to get his beak stuck between tail mount and moulted feather as the tail mount kept the moulted feather attached to the un moulted and of course he was pecking at it!

 

 

 

Spend time picking out bits of use. We are always learning.

 

 

Young birds are like a sponge if they know they can catch repeatedly with success ! Then they will always put in the effort when they progress as they won't know failure. MAKE SURE THEY CATCH A FEW TO START ! GET THEM ENTERED

 

 

They are very clever.Mine won't hood because I left it too long and that wasn't really that long into training, when your on you own and the bird is up and the ferret kills in and won't let go of the rabbit - come out. You need to dig, as soon as I get the spade out he is there sat on the floor watching me dig because he knows what is in there and it a right pain especially on a wet / damp day. I could always change all his kit and tie him up but he can still see what is going on and it's a lot of faffing about if only I had hooded him I could use a clip / bullets in the anklets hood him and he would be none the wiser it small thing like this we learn. I am part of the Northamptonshire raptor club and spent a few years at the raptor foundation. Its worth seeing if there is a club near you that you could go along on some field meetings to get various experience from different people.

 

 

Marytin who bred my harris is a fantastic what he does not know is not worth knowing. The guys at the club call him the bird whisperer!! He offers advice rather than giving it and a lot is common sense that you just don't stop and take the time to think about and by that time the deed is done and the bird remembers you mistake and takes advantage the next time. Bit like kids if you have any, you leave the chocolate on the side and say no turn you back and it gone and there is a big mess. You should have put it away out of reach problem solved but you were to busy thinking about something else. Stop think, think what the actions may achieve or the consequences they may produce and always pick out the positive bits, make a note of them and enforce them.

 

 

It is a long-term commitment!!

 

 

Hope the above helps

 

 

All the best

 

 

Lee

Edited by Lee C
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Cheers hope it will give some helpfull tips and people can pick and choose what they want out of it.

Missing vladamir but was best to re home him to a good home where he will be flown rather than sell him on to Tom dick or Harry. All the best to you all and I can't wait for next season for you all with bird have a good one.

 

Lee

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