A beautiful day in January with the hawks! Oz, a male Red-Tailed Hawk and Sadie, a large female both were lucky and caught a squirrel.
Gregg Hake is hosting the annual Georgia Falconry Association’s fall picnic on his property in Dahlonega, Georgia.
To see some beautiful red-tailed hawks and other birds of prey, be sure to stop by and meet the falconers and other visitors. It’s a great opportunity to learn about falconry!
It’s open to the public. Click here to register for the event:
Learn more about falconry:
My husband recently decided to let Gracie, his first red-tailed hawk, fly free. Only 20% of most hawks in the wild make it to maturity (due to many reasons including disease and poisoning from eating tainted rodents). A hawk that has an opportunity to be with a falconer has a greater chance of surviving when it is released, as it will be stronger and healthier than if it were in the wild. I had a chance to take a few photos before he released her:
My husband has a new hawk now, a male, whose name is Oz. Stay tuned for photos and news about this new addition to our family!
Every once in a while, you come across a person, a book, a quote, a moment with nature, or even an inspiration born of your own heart that reminds you of the simplicity and wonder of life. I’ve been following a few inspirational bloggers over the past year and am continually amazed at the depth and beauty of humanity that is present in humankind amidst all of the chaos and degradation in the world. There are many shining lights out there and I’m always honored and excited to find them when I do.
Today, a fellow blogger released an ebook entitled, “The Courage to Face Ingratitude…and other indignities.” The ebook, based on a popular series of posts on his blog is an artfully written guide on how to face ingratitude, thanklessness and even hate from others. What do you do when someone doesn’t appreciate you, doesn’t care how their actions affect you or seeks to denigrate you? I don’t remember ever learning how to handle these things in school, yet this is something that every single person faces in their lives. On the other hand, we are not only affected by the ingratitude of others, they are affected by our ingratitude.
Although most of my blog has been dedicated to the sport of falconry (through my husband) and photography, with a sprinkling of poetry and the arts, none of this would be possible without the inspiration that comes from appreciation. Appreciation (gratitude) is what opens my heart and allows me to see what otherwise I would not.
If you, like me, feel that you can make a difference in the world and are committed to being a catalyst for change, then I’d highly recommend this ebook – you’ll love it. You can find it at www.gregghake.com. And, like gratitude, it’s free.
I came across this beautiful poem about the Kestrel, which is a small falcon only a little bigger than a Robin. It’s distinctly colorful and when it hunts, it “hovers” in the currents of the wind.
It was written by Gerard Hopkins and published in 1918. He admires this remarkable bird of prey alluding that it controls the wind as a man might control a horse. The kestrel then suddenly swoops downwards and “rebuffs the big wind”.
I caught this morning morning’s minion, kingdom of daylight’s dauphin,
dapple-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! Then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend; the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird–the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valor and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! And the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it; sheer plod makes plow down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Now that you’ve felt his immense delight for this bird’s prowess and design, watch this video of the kestrel floating on the currents of the wind with its eye to the ground for a tasty morsel.
I loved how Hopkin’s described the Kestrel as “daylight’s dauphin, dapple-drawn Falcon.” You can see in this video the beautiful dapple coloring in its wings. The Kestrel is also known as the “Windhover” as it requires a slight headwind in order to hover.
Enjoying a beautiful moment on a cool yet sunny spring day with my husband, two dogs and Gracie. I took a bunch of photos and here are the best of the bunch.
On a recent hunting trip in South Georgia, these falconers and their hawks hunted together for squirrels, a common prey for the Red-tailed Hawk. The photos illustrate three different hawks (Gracie, an immature female, Scout, an immature male and Heath). If you look closely at the photos, you will be able to tell a difference in the appearance – their size and coloring (you also might see a squirrel, racoon and armadillo!).
Click on the “expand” button on the bottom right corner to view larger images, then sit back, watch, relax and imagine you were there…
Many thanks go out to Bart, the photographer who braved the forests and took these photos.
It’s well-known in historical texts and artifacts that falconry has been practiced for over 3,000 years and possibly even longer as it pre-dates written records. Places such as Arabia, China, Mongolia, Japan, Germany and Europe (to name a few), are rich in tales of falconry for sport and hunting. Even during the time of Marco Polo, there were more than 10,000 falconers (at one time) and their associates participating in this ancient activity.
Here we are circa 2011. Ages have passed, people have come and gone, the landscape of the world has changed and yet not only is falconry still present, it seems to be resurfacing among the tattered pages of history. Many of the customs have stayed intact (see this interesting post on The Value of Apprenticeship) and many I am sure have changed.
This autumn/winter, falconry will hit the fashion world. Hermès, the classic French luxury brand has added a new creative director to its team – Christophe Lemaire. Lemaire (who seems to have had a penchant for sporty-chic and evidently proved that with last year’s Lacoste line) is boldly bringing the sport of falconry to the luxury label. Magazine ads will portray beautiful models dressed in creams, winter whites, tans, cashmere, wrap-jackets, leather, tassels, suede, tunics, boots, fringe and of course, a wild falcon on their forearm. They’re going “back to the basics,” and I guess if you’re really going to go back, falconry certainly has the clout.
The origins of Hermès as a saddle-maker and obvious connection to the equestrian world seems to go hand and hand with falconry. Other lines will most likely follow suit and incorporate falconry into their designs – I guess we’ll see! Anyway, I’m not usually this much into fashion, but I couldn’t resist this topic and the sublime thought of riding a medieval looking Friesian horse with a bird of prey on one arm and making a fashion statement at the same time!
Ok, imagine you on this…
With this on your arm…
Wearing the garb of your choice – leather, suede…whatever suits you (you’ll have to use your imagination here and I’d love to hear your thoughts!)
You may have been one of those people who excelled at sports (and if you were, I really do admire you), however, I was never among that elite group of fit, perky, energetic individuals that could kick &@!$% in their chosen field. For me, it was a series of painful, embarrassing, awkward moments and Sysyphean tasks. Phys Ed was my nemesis. No happy-happy, no joy-joy. Which leads me to the point of this post.
I glimpsed P.E. joy this weekend.
Would you believe that a local college actually had falconry as a credit for P.E.?
How cool is that?!?
Last Sunday, the N. Georgia college offered a class presented by a falconer/raptor rehabilitator. A master falconer (who is also a coach at the college), organized the presentation and invited some other falconers to attend (my hubs included). I tagged along and took a few photos.
As I sat in the classroom (reminiscing about the horrors of P.E.), I looked around at the students and wondered why they took this class. Did they want to become falconers or did they hate P.E. as much as I did? Whatever the reason, not only did they escape the wrath of sweaty athletics, the door of a fascinating sport was opened to them. Only time will tell if any of them will walk through it and join the select group of those who have embraced the pursuit of falconry.
Here are a few photos taken from (at present) the only college level falconry course in the country.
After the class for college students and demonstration for children was over, the students and falconers split up into different groups and went hunting.
I now have a new, albeit grudging respect for P.E.
What about you, did you like P.E.? (wait – before you say anything, take a moment to reminisce on the fetid stench of muggy locker rooms, heinous polyester shorts, bad hair days, being 13, cruel temperature extremes, archaic equipment and the fascist attitudes that often go with the teaching of team sports – sorry coaches. ) Ok, now you can answer.
Props: proper respect, recognition – Urban Dictionary
I’ve never given the opossum a second thought unless it happened to scurry across my path in the approaching dusk. Ghostly, ghastly, pallid and grotesque, there were so many more colorful things in life to give my attention to.
If Gracie hadn’t caught one, I’d still think that way.
Of course, after seeing one close up… close enough to take a photograph, I was intrigued.
What an interesting looking creature.
My, what big teeth it has.
What does it eat?
Thank you Google – all my questions were answered and I have to share my new-found knowledge about and “props” for the heretofore unknown and unappreciated ‘possum.
Before I reveal what I’ve learned, I must first elaborate a little more on Gracie’s successful hunt. This was the other evening. The days are getting a little longer and my husband took her out to hunt just before dark. She flew up from his glove, immediately spotted the unlucky opossum and dove for it. As soon as my H saw her go for it, his heart sank as he knew there could be a fight – either one could die. He ran over to her as she tried to subdue her prey and reached her in time to help her dispatch the creature. It was twice her weight (2200 grams). The opossum punctured Gracie’s foot with its teeth, but she’s o.k.
Here’s where we put on our big girl pants and look beyond the grisly photos above. The opossum is beautifully and intelligently designed, the same as something pretty like a butterfly, baby deer or canary. Maybe they’re not cuddly or cute, but I’ve realized that they do deserve some air time.
Here’s what I found:
Hopefully, I’ve given the ‘possum a proper nod and that if you ever see one, you’ll look past their long snouts, sharp teeth, beady black eyes, oily skin, coarse fur, parasite-carrying, rabies resistant bodies and appreciate what’s good about them.
What do you think? Cute or gross?