Gracie Gets a Reward (The mouse is in her mouth)

She was at the 30 and…
… to the 40 to the 50 to the 40 to the 30 to 20.

I’m faking it – I really don’t know anything about football, but I do know that I was on a football field yesterday afternoon.  Ok, fine.  I wouldn’t even have known that unless my H hadn’t clearly said, “I’m taking Gracie to a football field.”

Of course, I was fascinated and repelled simultaneously.  Why a football field?  Sounds so… sporty.

Luckily, it had nothing to do with dueling squads of  human battering rams, vexatious announcers, mouth guards or sweaty tattoos.  That being the case, I willingly went along as a first time official outing photographer.

The local highschool football field was vacant.  It was a brisk 32° with a wind chill factor of about 21° – invigorating!   My H, pockets filled with mouse cadavers, set up the perch and creance (a thin line attached to the hawk) and I followed along, excited about the chance to capture a Gracie-in-action shot.  She flew about 5 times from the perch to my H’s gauntlet and reached up to 50 yards.  By the last time, she had begun to lose interest as she was getting full.  The entire exercise took about 20 minutes.

I was only able to get a few shots as my hands were freezing (and hawks fly a lot faster than you think):

Gracie in action - low flying along the 30 yard mark towards my H

Gracie flying 50 feet from creance to glove

Flying right towards us - what a sight!

PICT0411

Her reward (I really having nothing to say at this moment other than the macro feature on my camera works great)

Gracie with part of mouse in mouth

Eating her reward - you can still see the mouse before it completely disappeared in her mouth (I just vomited a little bit)

Gracie in Mews

This photo is just eye candy to make up for any visual violations in this post - I took it in the mews before we left

White Mouse

My freezer, which once held the bounties of nature and pre-packaged delights, has forever changed. No longer is it a place to freely inspect, to gleefully rummage or to speculate about its hidden wonders. Where once I moved confidently and boldly in this frozen kingdom, I am now uncertain and timid. Mysterious disappearances and strange appearances have left me questioning the sanctity of this chow repository.

The frigidarium of delight as I once knew it has transformed into a frozen time-share coffin for anemic, lilliputian mice. Tiny, furry white creatures with little pink noses and feet appear at random for the unsuspecting visitor. Lined up as if caught in suspended animation, the mouse filled baggie may lay next to the waffles, the bag of frozen peas or the ice cube tray. There’s no apparent rhyme or reason to their appearance, location or disappearance. I know what they’re for, and Gracie needs to eat, but knowing that doesn’t bring back the freezer glory days.

As if this wasn’t enough trauma for the wife of a falconer to bear (drama alert), the surprise “donation” of the $7 organic, Springer Mountain Farm, boneless, skinless chicken tenderloin dinner-to-be to our lovely hawk, would have put any cook into shock. I know that there were good, valid reasons for Gracie to eat poultry on that day, but knowing that doesn’t bring back my future Chicken Scaloppine with Lemons, Capers and Tomatoes.

I am sure that this is just the beginning and that I’ll have many more culinary and cold storage adventures to share, but as a tip to all would-be falconers and falconer’s wives, don’t confuse a mouse with a chicken or you may end up with  White Chocolate Mouse Parfaits with Strawberries.

P.S. It’s late and I can’t stop thinking of mouse recipes…Italian Style Spaghetti and Mouseballs, Verminicelli, Greek Mouseaka, Ratatouille (obvious one), getting tired now, you probably have some, too!

My husband is teaching Gracie to fly from the perch to his gauntlet. He fed her a little mouse for breakfast, which she quickly Houdini’d and I was able to catch on film. This is the first chance I’ve had to take some candid photos of her in the daytime. The morning light was in my favor and I enjoyed the results as the hawk is so captivatingly beautiful. Here are a few of them…

Close-up Series

What a stare!

MMMouse

On the glove

Inquisitive look

Now, off to breakfast and needless to say, I won’t be having any Mickey Mouse pancakes!