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USA - Passage Red-Tailed Buzzard, tales courtesy of Heather Ford & Rusty Scarborough.

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13th of December 2002.    PASSAGE RED-TAILED BUZZARD

Heather got her permit on Wednesday, and since, here in Arkansas you can only trap on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we went on Friday morning. Heather only had a couple of hours available until she had to be at work (she works part time for the Nature Centre and full time for a pet store).

Heather said that, "there was no way we were going to catch a bird on this day since it was Friday December 13th". So we spent the morning looking for a Red-Tailed Buzzard. We must have seen 25 birds but all were mature, not a single immature. Then it started raining and finally we found an immature on the side of the road, but when we slowed to put the Bal-Chatri out the bird flew off not to return. We headed in and planned for tomorrow.

14th of December 2002.

The next morning we again only had three hours to trap before Heather had to be at work. This time her family came with her. Shannon and their two girls, Taylor(5) and Loren(4). Heather and I piled into the truck and went out trapping.

Early on we found a lot of birds out and finally put the BC out and trapped the bird instantly! But it was a mature and we released it.

We drove around a number of miles and put the trap out a couple more times, but no luck. Then we found a bird just outside the small town of Wabaseka. I threw the trap as we drove slowly by and it flipped upside down. The bird was sitting in an oak tree about 20 feet off the ground. So I told Shannon to drive up and I would slip my foot out and turn the trap over. We did but I had to get out of the truck and turn over the trap. We couldn't believe it but the bird stayed in the tree! We drove down and turned around and passed back by and turned to be in the direction of the trap. We waited about 15 minutes and all of a sudden the bird changed from gazing off into the distance and looked straight down on the trap. Then it looked down the road for traffic, then at the trap, then traffic, then bailed and stooped onto the trap. I had to calm everybody down as we watched the bird 'dance' on the BC for a while. Then here comes a car.... the birdRed Tail Heather03.jpg (130595 bytes) stayed on the trap....then another car....still she stayed on the trap. After watching another 15-20 minutes I finally decided that I thought she was caught. We eased up to her and sure enough she was, but on closer inspection only by one noose on one toe... after all that time on the trap and only one noose!

Red Tail Heather02.jpg (130892 bytes)Heather was ecstatic. We jessed, cuffed and weighed the Red-tail in time for Heather to go to work. She had to be at work at 10:00am and we got back in the truck at 9:17am with the bird.

It was meant to be. The bird stayed in the tree while we turned the trap over...stayed on the trap with traffic going by, and got caught by only one toe!

24th of December 2002.  Training.

On Christmas Eve the bird stepped to Heather on the leash inside and jumped the length of the leash.

26th of December 2002.

She came on the creance, outside, to 5 feet.

She was trapped at 1420g (3lb 2oz, very full breasted) and on the 26th she was down to 1261g, (2lb 12.5oz).

27th of December 2002.

1247g (2lb 12oz). Came to me at about 18ft, but would not come if she was above my head.

28th of December 2002.

1239g (2lb 11.75oz). Came 40ft, even above me. She has become very tame and allows us to touch her feet and her head.

29th of December 2002.

1232g (2lb 11.5oz). Came 80ft. today.

31th of December 2002.

1228g (2lb 11oz). First time to fly from trees. Hesitated a lot. She cast a crayfish shell today, she must have eaten it while she was in the Mew.

4th of January  2003.

1182g (2lb 9.5oz). Major improvement today. Not as much hesitation. Came 40ft, from about 12 vertical feet.Red Tail HEATHER & RT02.jpg (124733 bytes)

12th of January  2003. Flying Free.

1140g (2lb 8oz). Flew free for the first time today. She came three times without being called to an empty glove. Still needs to learn to follow.