Well, here we are, wrapping up an absolutely manic period of activity, and boy do we have some catching up to do!
First things first. In the falconry world: despite high hopes and set-teeth determination, I made several trapping attempts over the first few weekends with the hope of trapping a late 2007 passage bird, but didn't see a single juvenile in the entire Willamette valley over several weekends. By that, I mean zero. None. Shortly thereafter, the nesting period was in full-swing, and so a break was taken to allow the young nestlings to fledge and start learning to hunt.
I got a phone call from my sponsor a few weeks ago, about a crazily-colored recent fledgling near her house. I immediately threw my trapping kit in the car and flew down there to make an attempt at him. We hiked out to where she'd seen him earlier; he had swooped low over her horse, while she was out riding, so it's encouraging that he's not terribly skittish about people. We threw the trap in a little clearing near the top of the hill, moved back a bit to keep from crowding the trap, and set about looking for him. We could hear him calling, but because we're on a hill, sounds bounce and it can be really difficult to pinpoint the source of a call. Finally, after about a half-hour, he showed up in a soar out over the valley, a good three hundred feet up and circling. We know there is a pair of nesting adults in the area, but baby calls are very distinctive and frequent, and because he's so weirdly light colored, we could tell that it was the bird we were looking for.
We watched him circle and call for a few minutes, and after only a short while, he stooped the trap from the soar! This was really a cool thing to see--from that high up, waaaaaay out over the valley, he spotted the tiny little trap and made a pass at it. It seems he's still pretty naive, as he landed in a snag directly above the trap and made "mama, feed me!" calls for the next twenty minutes. He knew there was food there, but either wasn't sure what to do about it, or wasn't confident enough to take a shot at it.
We hung out for a while, and eventually my sponsor had to split for another appointment. Oregon law requires apprentices fly a bird "wild-trapped under the direct supervision of their sponsor", so I was obliged to pack it in for the day. Since then we've made several more attempts at him, but though I've tried being there at dawn, dusk, and midday, I've yet to manage to spot him again when he's actively hunting. The trapping itself isn't terribly difficult, the tricky part is being at the right spot, at the right time. But! We'll keep at it, he's only got another few weeks before he's likely to be chased from the nest site, so it's a small window I have to trap him before he lights out for other territory.
In other news, business is rockin'! Upcoming August events where you can come visit us include the Save the Pets
Paws for a Cause 5k fun run and dog walk at Alton Baker Park in Eugene on August 24th, and the Dogo Argentino Club of America
2008 national specialty show in Hutto, Texas the following weekend.
That Paws for a Cause event should be a total blast--there are going to be a bunch of great local vendors there, and a sea of waggly tails. I'm also really, really looking forward to the DACA specialty--old friends, dogos, and BBQ, I am totally beside myself that we're able to arrange to go this year. We missed the 2007 specialty, but made a road trip of it the year before, and it was the best vacation we ever had. This year I'm flying in myself instead of driving, and hoping to meet up with some sweet pet boutiques in Austin while I'm there. If anyone has any good suggestions for shops to check out, I'd love to hear!
We've made some new friends this past month, so here's an official shout-out to Sid, Dorinda, and Heather at LibertyBank
. There are a few major business and personal principles we here at Raw Dog hold close to heart, and after having interviewed quite a number of financial institutions with the intent of moving our business to a more commercially-oriented bank, we are awfully proud to have hooked up with this fine bunch of folks. I can't say enough how pleased I am, not only with what LibertyBank has to offer me and my business in a banking sense, but in a personal sense as well. Big things are on our horizon and they've worked awfully hard to help us make it happen. If you're in the market for a new bank, give them a call and tell them we sent you. ;0)