The Chase the on-line newsletter of the UK Falconry Club - May 2010
Editors note Welcome to the second online version of THE CHASE. After the success of the first issue and the positive response from the membership we will be producing THE CHASE on-line each month. With the continued support of the members and guest contributors we hope THE CHASE will go on from strength to strength. I would also like to thank everyone for their excellent articles and photographs. Please, keep them coming. Finally a special welcome and thank you to my new editorial team, Jen Wise and Jan Hart for all their help in producing this edition.
The love for a sporting dog... by Jen Wise
Lamping with an African Hawkeagle by Mark Springthorpe
A brief guide to Releasing Game by Neil Davies
The Healesville Sanctuaryâ€™s Australian Wildlife Health Centre in Victoria by Iain Stych
Members Birds - Lily, 2009 parent reared Northern Goshawk by Mark Sawyer
Cover photo - Peregrine Falcon ÂŠ Darroch Donald
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UK FALCONRY CLUB - MAY 2010
The love for a sporting dog... by Jen Wise
Well it was a few weeks after Christmas 2008 that the family and I went up to Joe Hatton’s to pick up “Ben”. Dad had chosen him from a series of photographs on the forum and dad was excited to be getting his first ‘falconry dog’. He was gorgeous, me being me I fell in love straight away, my love for German Wirehaired Pointers was huge and having previously owned a Springer Spaniel, I was looking forward to seeing the charisma shine through. Little did I know that a short time after that trip ‘Ben’ was to be mine! ‘Ben’ became ‘Brynn’ after confusion with names amongst the other dogs and so the name had to be changed and ‘Brynn’ seemed the nearest match! By the time I took Brynn on he was four months old and was definitely feeling his
feet. He was pushing boundaries and getting that pushy, boisterous attitude – more than I’d bargained for. All Dad had got him doing was sitting so I pretty much had a blank canvas to work with. Brynn was coming to work with me at the vets in the evenings, socialising really well, testing the patience of the older dogs, asleep at my feet whilst I would work at the computer and following me around wherever I went. He became my best buddy and I couldn’t have wished for a better companion. In no time I had my whistle through the post and had him out two or three times a day just out in the meadow out the back. I had him working really hard, entering the thickest of cover, stopping at good distance, heeling both on and off the lead, perfect recall back to heel and if he got a scent under his nose then there was no stopping him. As he got older though he started to disobey my commands which really started to bother me, I was having sleepless nights, I just couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. It was unbearable. After a while I spoke to a few people about using an electric collar as an aid. As all training aids, used the right way and they can have great results on the dog but used poorly and you could end
DOGS up with even worse problems! So I went and researched them before purchasing my first e-collar. I have to admit beforehand I had criticized them greatly, seeing them as a bad omen from all the horror stories I had heard. I was apprehensive about using such a tool on Brynn but it had become vital, showing him a very firm hand made no difference, a collar was the only option. We’d got to that stage where we were dealing with a big communication barrier. I was telling him what he knew but I just don’t think it was processing, I doubted myself as well as whether I had a dog with a brain? He had become really disobedient, not stopping at distance, getting distracted by the smallest thing, chasing quarry, getting vocal, barking and growling at strangers. I remember spending a night on the phone to Joe talking about getting Brynn pointing. There was a lot of discussion over that I remember, a lot of disagreements with other trainers. Then there was vocalisation, his way of expressing himself when put into an exciting situation. Whether a dog was coming towards us, or someone walked past the car when it was pulled up, he was there making himself known. We worked on the collar and we corrected a few more things and slowly we were getting there. That was when my world fell apart... I had just taken on a job on landfill and I just didn’t have the time I needed for Brynn. Knowing he was going through such an adolescent stage pretty much made the decision that working dawn till dusk, it just wasn’t fair on him. It was the hardest decision I had ever made in my life, Brynn had to go to someone who did have the time.
Brynn went to a friend, Gavin in Wales, where he had a whale of a time. He was working beside the lurcher and under the Harris, getting all the time he needed. I was chuffed, Gav kept in touch, letting me know how he was getting on and as much as I missed him, knowing he was with Gav kept my spirits up. Brynn was with Gav for the best part of 4 ½ months, the longest 4 ½ months of my life I can tell you! One night I popped on the forum to see a pm from Gavin, after reading it I felt gutted. For me, for Brynn and for Gavin. Gavin had to find a home for Brynn after some issues at home and as much as I wanted Brynn back I thought it wouldn’t be viable, until we were out for the day. Dad said he wanted me to have Brynn back, there would have to be consequences but I, ‘just hadn’t been right since Brynn had gone’. Well he was right, you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife at times when Brynn’s name had been mentioned. He was my best friend, such an achievement; he was the dog I’d always wanted. So dad was on the phone to Gavin the following morning and we were off to Wales to get my ‘Brynnster’ back. It felt so good I just couldn’t describe it! We met Gavin and Brynn recognised me straight away, it was a great feeling. He sure had grown since I’d seen him last... and put on a few kilos too. His attitude is completely different now, you just would not believe. He is calmer, so obedient, listens to everything you say. Still perfect on recall and walking to heel, he doesn’t drop now but we’ll work on that. A couple of days after getting him back I had him straight out in the field with the
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UK FALCONRY CLUB - MAY 2010
Red Tail, we had a great day! He worked hard all day, quartering, nose to the ground flushing plenty and although he wanted to chase after being around the lurcher we soon had that straightened out. Since then Brynn has really pleased me. His manners are impeccable, his eagerness to please is lovely and we’ve shaved a little off his weight. To look at you can really see both the Spaniel and the German wirehaired pointer in him with some cracking markings whilst he sports a nice wire coat. Now that Brynn has calmed down we are having great fun focusing on some training that we never tried before. I am doing a lot of obedience work with the dummy, mainly as a mental stimulation which he really reacts well to. He loves his swimming and because we live near the River Thames we’re always out. He loves to get in the water and flush the ducks off the surface which I think will work to our advantage when it comes to hawking this season.
I’ve learnt a lot from Brynn, we’ve had some trials, tribulations and some tears but he’s my best friend. He’s pushed me to the edge at times, left me questioning I keep in touch with the guys who had Brynn’s brothers and they certainly got the easy options. I’ve never met such a head strong, independent, pushy, bold, courageous dog and if there is ever a dog to test your patience then Brynn is that dog! He knows a soft touch when he sees one and if he thinks he can get away with murder then he’ll try it, mum loves it... not. We’ve still got a long way to go, I haven’t pushed Brynn to point and although we’ve only had one solid point, we’ll get there. All I can say is I owe Joe Hatton a great deal, from giving my dad the chance of a pup which resulted in me owning the most amazing dog I have ever met, for all his help and guidance, his support, his kind words, I am extremely grateful. You wouldn’t believe such an amazing working dog could become such a friend. A friend that I will get pointing.
LAMPING Cilla on Scrub Hare
I was offered a night on the lamp by a friend George McAllister, the Chairman of the Mpumalanga Falconry Club to watch him fly Cilla, a 27 year old female African Hawk Eagle (Aquila spilogastra). Cilla is a very experienced AHE with many seasons under her belt. I accepted the offer, with both hands. Mark Holder and I set of to Belfast Golf Course where we met George and his wife. After a couple of drinks and a chat, George and I set the car up with the hawk box on the roof. ‘Sounds crazy!, but works well’. George has a system were he slips Cilla by the mean of a cable running down the side of the car in through the window and into his mouth, leaving both hands free, one to drive and the other to work the lamp. We removed Cilla’s equipment and placed into the box then we set off into the darkness.
LAMPING After a short 10 minute drive, we spotted our first Scrub Hare (Lepus saxatilis) running across the fairway. George pulled the cable the box door was dropped and Cilla was off in pursuit. The speed of this hawk eagle surprised me and I was quite taken aback. She was on the hare in seconds and had it under control and sat looking around with an evil glare what a bird ,out came the camera a few minutes of calming down and banter between myself and George and she was removed from her prize. George McAllister & Cilla The hare was placed into the car and Cilla was give a few minutes to calm down and she was returned to the box. George then turned and said,”shall we go another one?”, to my delight I said “Yes!” as we had only been out for 30 minutes, so of we went in search for another Scrub Hare. Another half hour passed before we spotted another hare at a much longer distance than the first flight. Cilla’s cable was pulled and she waited for a few moments and I was thinking she was going to refuse. Then suddenly she exploded from the hawk box and was on the hare in seconds and she had quickly under control. George, allowed to feed up on this hare and this allowed me to ask George loads of questions and take photographs. I would like to thank Mark Holder for driving me there and George McAllister for taking the time to show me first hand just deadly the African Hawk Eagle can be.
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UK FALCONRY CLUB - MAY 2010
A brief guide to Releasing Game by Neil Davies Early Planning: Consider the type and numbers of birds to be released. Along with the size and sighting of the release pen. Pheasants require approximately 25 square feet of pen space per bird. Planning the feeding and disease control should be worked out long before any birds are ordered. Contacting and Choosing your Game Farm: Use a recommended local Game Farm, who are members of the Game Farmers Association. Buy Quality! itâ€™s cheaper in the long term. Speak to your Game Farmer long before you order your birds and donâ€™t be afraid to ask for their advice Placing your order: Orders should specify not just numbers but also the strain required and any special needs such as full-winged or wing tagged. Feed and medication requirements should be discussed when the order is placed so that preparations can be made to ensure continuity. Make sure the delivery note includes a full veterinary history of the birds. Preparation of Release Pens: Pens need to be well-designed and of high quality with appropriate ratios of cover and open space. Pay attention to physical security, remembering to avoid locations where the public might cause disturbance. Biosecurity (eg. footdips) is also important and straw should not be spread as it inevitably gets damp and encourages disease. Drinkers and feeders should be plentiful and well spread, right to the edges of the pen. They should be of the same type used on the game farm and all should be filled and ready before any birds arrive. Electric fencing switched on a couple of days before the delivery is expected to discourage potential predators. Delivery: The game farmer needs to ensure that transport arrangements comply with the law. You should be well prepare in advance of delivery. The earlier in the day the birds can be delivered the better it allows them to get used to their new surroundings. Food and Medication: Liaise with the game farm and order the same feed that they have been fed at the game farm this reduces the stress and any changes should be phased in. If medication is used, birds should not have access to alternative, untreated water, as that would dilute their intake. Potential Problems: Good planning and preparation will reduce the risk of disease, but if there are difficulties in the first few days after introducing the birds to the release pens, contact the game farmer immediately for advice.
Next month issue: Building a release pen.
AUSTRALIAN BIRDS OF PREY Healesville Sanctuary’s Australian Wildlife Health Centre in Victoria, South Australia allows visitors to see first hand the veterinary care provided to injured wildlife. At the centre, visitors are able to follow the progress of native species from rescue to release. The centre is a purpose-built veterinary care facility with all activities and procedures on Injured Australian Peregrine view for visitors. Visit on any given day and you are likely to see a vet explaining a surgery or post-mortem as it happens, with only a pane of glass separating you from the operating table. The centre embraces the essence of Healesville Sanctuary’s work, which for over 70 years has encompassed breeding and conservation, as well as the treatment of orphaned and injured Australian wildlife. Every year more than 1,500 native animals in need of specialist veterinary care arrive on the Sanctuary’s doorstep, brought in by members of public, wildlife and land managers, researchers and wildlife shelters. In total the Sanctuary’s veterinary team performs close to 5,000 procedures annually, from simple check-ups to major surgery.
The Healesville San Wildlife Health Cen Pictures by Iain Stych 12
nctuary’s Australian ntre in Victoria THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UK FALCONRY CLUB - MAY 2010
As recomme safe to say that there is a lot of varied content and a lot of ground covered in the 300 plus pages.
Y2K by Pete Smith Reviewed by Ben Crane Y2K Falconry is divided into roughly three sections. The first deals with the very basic elements of training, imprinting and conditioning, the second with the hawks and falcons themselves and finally an amalgam of various subjects as discursive as raptor performance, quarry species and interviews with some UK falconers. Interspersed between some of the more technical aspects of training and imprinting, are a plethora of hawking ‘stories’ which speak of the results and in some instances, the mishaps that can and do occur in the field. It is therefore
This perhaps spreads certain subjects rather thin. Many specialist austringers and their counterparts in the Longwing world will no doubt feel short changed. Because in many respects is difficult to cover all the bases in enough detail for the varying degrees of skill in the falconry world. I am thinking particularly of the Sparrowhawk section which covers 3 pages in comparison to Mike McDermott’s 10 page (brilliant and entertaining) section on Coopers hawks at Quail. It seems a little incongruous that a British author would not wish to add more to the Sparviters world, particularly as they are an indigenous pure bred species. However, this is a minor niggle, as an alternative viewpoint, this is perhaps the books single greatest strength. In many respects Y2K Falconry could be seen as bridging the gap between some of the highly technical and in depth books from the states and those written in Europe some 20 to 30 years back. Read in conjunction with these books, it is possible to see the areas the author has began to push forward and perhaps break new ground. Price: £39.95 plus P&P http://y2kfalconry.co.uk/Y2KFalconry/Book.html
ended... Pineo Bandolero Bag Reviewed by Neil Davies
Coming up next month: The Imprint Goshawk Breeder by Lee Featherstone Gamehawker Falcon Cadge Ideally, I would have liked the bag to have a couple of extra of small pockets. One for carrying a pocket knife and another to hold a creance, but this is the only fault I can find with the bag. In my opinion it is the ideal falconers bag and will suit the majority of falconers especially the falconer flying longwings. It has a non-slip pad and adjustable shoulder strap that can be worn on either shoulder and has a quick release elastic side belt to secure the bag when running. The shoulder strap has two 'D' rings for attached leashes to and you can easily attach a hood holster for your falcon or hawk hood. Available in four colours - Coyote (Grey), Brown, Loden (Dark Green) and Hunter Green Pros: Lightweight, Washable, Hard Wearing, Good Value and well made from a respected maker.
I have used the Pineo Bandolero Bag for over a year now and it is as good as new. In my opinion it is one of the best lightweight falconry bags on the market. You can easily carry four pheasants in the two zipped pockets and still have plenty room to carry a lure and pick up piece in the loop snap pocket.
Against: Would like a couple of extra small pockets to hold a creance and knife, but this is the only fault I can find with the bag. Might be to small for carrying hares but the Pineo Avatar Hawking vest would easily solve this problem. Shipping costs to the UK approx £15 - £20. Price: $65 US - £42.50 approx. plus shipping from the USA www.pineofalconry.com
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UK FALCONRY CLUB - MAY 2010
2009 parent reared Northern Goshawk by Mark Sawyer
I purchased ‘Lily’ bred by Tim Spafford in December 2009, from a falconer in South Wales after the sudden death of my male Goshawk ‘Vinnie’. I had planned to wait for a 2010 small female for flying primarily at feather. ‘Lily’ was advertised on one of the falconry forums, so I contacted the guy who was giving up hawking. Her tail needed a good deal of work, due to a tail guard being left on for a long period. She was priced accordingly so I decided to take her. I figured on getting her entered before the end of the season and then put her down to moult. If I went for the 2010 bird option, I would have probably waited until July or August anyways so it wasnt a big deal. I got her flying loose at 2lb 3 1/2oz, the plan was to get her entered on rabbit to start then progress onto feather. Fortunately, I managed to achieve this. However, due to poor weather at the start of this year. I put her down to moult. When she is reclaimed later this year, I intend to fly her hard off the fist at feather, mainly pheasant, partridge and duck on my permissions.
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Club News Club Launch at the Falconry & Raptor Fair The launch of the UK Falconry Club will take place over the May Bank Holiday weekend, Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd at the British Falconry & Raptor Fair, Chetwynd Park, Newport, Shropshire. We hope you can come along and meet the committee and some of itâ€™s members.
UK Falconry Club Committee President - Ben Crane, Vice-President - Neil Hunter, Chairman - Lee Featherstone, Vice-Chairman - Martin Whitley, Secretary - Steven Lambert, Treasurer - Tommy Miles, Membership Secretary - George Duncalf, Legal Officer - Mike Roberts, Field Meet Officer - Kevin Massey, Assistant Field Meet Officer 1 - Anthony Walker, Assistant Field Meet Officer 2 - Joe Hatton, Newsletter Editor - Neil Davies
Membership is now available online and at the Falconry & Raptor Fair If you wish to join the UK Falconry Club you can now apply and pay online at www.ukfalconryforum.com or you can always join at the Falconry & Raptor Fair.
Field Meets We are presently organising a number of UKFC field meets through out the whole of the of UK. We will post a list of date on www.ukfalconryforum.com in due course.
the uk falconry club supports the campaign for falconry
THE CHASE - THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UK FALCONRY CLUB - MAY 2010