Post by robhawkyyz on Feb 17, 2015 20:13:12 GMT -5
I think most falconers keep the micro falcons inside in a controlled temperature environment but, minimum is probably 6'w x 6'd x 6'h... tall enough for you to get inside maybe and large enough for the micro falcon not to hit it's wings on the sides when it bates while tethered.
Post by Falcon Boy on Feb 19, 2015 10:49:32 GMT -5
I'm going to make a list because I don't feel like typing it out as a paragraph. Please don't think i'm being rude either, I'm just laying out many of the reasons i think it's not a good first bird. I've flown one, and have friends who've flown a number of them. The overall success rate with merlins from what I've seen is rather low. Here's my reasons:
a) they're small b) they're small c) they're small d) they cover a LOT of ground very quickly (they are nothing like kestrels that tend to stay close). If you're not used to watching falcons disappear, you may need a new pair of shorts after you watch your merlin fly 2 miles, disappear for 20 minutes chasing a distant flock of bird, then come back (mine always came back, then again my falcons always do too unless they have quarry. Really awesome falconry merlins will cache (hide their food) then come back). e) they're real falcons. Not to say that kestrels aren't but those who've flown them know what i mean. In many regards (i.e., hunting style, willingness to crash brush) an american kestrel is a buteo hidden in a falcons body. Merlins are not. Merlins are real falcons.
Questions you need to ask yourself: a) do you have a mentor who's flown one successfully? In other words, consistently takes game? b) do you have appropriate game for one in appropriate areas? c) why do you want a merlin?
Generally the merlin is a very good falconry bird. That said, I don't feel it is really a bird for everyone. I would be hesitant to see someone with one as a first bird unless they're working under the very close supervision of an experienced mentor who has flown merlins. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about merlins, and i've seen some people struggle who are great falconers, but just didn't have much luck with the merlin. Other people really 'get them' and do very well. For instance, there is an idea floating around that a merlin needs to be flown to live baggies as a lure. False (I have a hard time with that one, why would you do such a thing?). There is the idea that merlins only do off the fist long distance flights. Also false. There is the idea that merlins always end up 2 miles away and therefore you need telemetry. Also false (although telemetry is a good idea).
Merlins are, in many respects, a great secret in falconry. But you really need the right types of slips and have the right mindset to fly one well. It is difficult to understand what kind of slips you need unless you've watched falcons fly and have seen how much ground they can cover. It is difficult to know weight management without flying a larger, more forgiving raptor first. In sum, there is a reason that redtailed hawks are the first bird of choice throughout the US, having an ever growing reputation across the UK, and many choose to fly them in Canada.
Falcon Boy Apprentice Falconry Administrator
Ethics make the individual, not the other way around.
FB nailed it. I've wanted a Merlin for a few years now (granted, school and and life have taken up a ridiculous amount of time and forced falconry to the side temporarily) but a Merlin would have been an incredibly tough first bird. Try a kestrel. See how you like that and spend a few years with that bird.
Also, to echo what has already been said... I had the same thought process as you when it came to building my mew. But then I listened to the advice of the guys on this forum and my sponsor and went with a full size mew. You'll thank yourself later.
Finally, if there's one thing I've learned in this sport... If it is at all possible, over do it. Make your mew too nice, your stockpile of food too large. Have three times the amount of equipment you need. Weigh your bird two, three, four times a day until you're comfortable. Over-doing it in this sport can save you a lot of grief.