I picked up a second RT this year a couple of weeks ago. (Aspergilous got my first RT in Nov.) She is right around 950g and flying great! However, I get bit a couple times every time I try to check her keel bone. Picking her up for training each day is a lightning footing as I reach down to untie the leash, and it takes her a while to let go. Getting her back on the leash from the creance after training usually gets my bare hand footed if I try too soon after training.
Any ideas/recommendations on how to settle her down a bit?
Biting: Put a work glove on your non-hawk-holding hand, get the bird on the fist and start to stroke the breast and back very softly. Let her bite to her hearts content. She will quit eventually. Works every time for me. Footing: I am assuming you have the bird tethered to a bow perch. Slide your gloved hand up the leash to the jesses and pick up the bird. If it foots, simply keep lifting until she is off the perch. Then untie the leash. When she discovers that footing you doesn't stop you from picking her up in any way, she'll stop. I'm not sure how she is footing your bare hand on the creance. Do you have a leash-to a swivel-to the jesses? If so, snap the creance on to the swivel at the jesses and pull the leash out. This is all done under the glove and out of reach of her foot, assuming you have a good grip on the jesses. Does any of this help?
Picking her up is no problem. She steps right up without any trouble. Some times while I am flying her, she doesn't like letting go after eating the tidbit. I usually get two or three flights without trouble while the remaining three or four flights she likes to hang onto my fist a bit longer. I suspect there is still an aspect of learning the routine.
I have a swivel on the end of my leash with a snap-clip attached to the swivel. The end of my creance also has a snap-clip. After flying, I clip the leash using the slits in the jesses and remove the clip with the creance. I thread the jesses from the back of my hand between my index and middle finger, and back between my pinky and ring finger. This puts the slits in the mews jesses just below my pinky and I have control if she bates. My fist is usually partially palm up while I swap the clips, and she has footed my several times during the process. She has only broken my skin once.
I am hoping to settle the footing thing so that I can swap hunting jesses for mews jesses and hunt some bunnies between Christmas and New Years. (My company shuts down for two full weeks.)
Post by Master Yarak on Dec 19, 2007 13:02:09 GMT -5
I wish I had some pearls of wisdom for you....however I am fresh out. Her food association with the hand is apparent. This is why she foots at you. If it was out of aggression she would bind. Make it a point to make a pronounced effort to show her you have an empty hand each time you reach up. Move your hand with deliberate slowness. If you are not feeding her mostly on the lure now would be a good time to start. Try to reduce the food association with the fist or bare hand.
I am unsure if you know this or not so I will share it just in case. Once foot closes it takes a conscious thought to reopen it. The bird has what is called an auto-locking mechanism in its feet. No effort is spent keeping the foot closed. So it must relax its grip with thought. I have rotated my wrist before tossing her off. This causes her to reposition her feet to maintain her balance. She usually does not regrip after that.
Both these behaviors have been taught to her. My guess is through food reward and food association. I believe that they can both be worked through. Just be careful and keep your guard up. Yarak
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away
I was aware of the auto-locking nature of most birds' feet. I assumed that she was simply trying to carry off her kill when she would take flight but still hold onto my fist. I will try rotating my wrist first.
I am finishing my lure tonight and will start feeding her on the lure tomorrow.