Sunday, January 9, 2011

Harris' hawk news

I went hawking with Karl Linderholm yesterday, for the first time in ages: just the reminder I needed to post these pictures, both taken in December.

Karl's hawk, Clarice, is named for Clarice Starling, the FBI agent-in-training in Thomas Harris's novel The Silence of the Lambs (played by Jodie Foster in the film version). So how appropriate is this?

Evidently an unseen merlin or sharpie had taken a shot at a flock of starlings; they had taken refuge in a cedar tree and were unwilling to leave when Karl approached. Clarice sized up the situation from a distance and went crashing into the cedar, emerging with a starling in her talons. Karl traded her off the starling, and she went on to take a cottontail a short while later.

Clarice's brother, Hannibal, also had an unusual adventure at roughly the same time. Originally trained by Mike Cox, he had been passed on to Bob Noble and then to Karl before being sent back to Tom & Jenn Coulson in Louisiana, who had lost much of their breeding stock to Hurricane Katrina and were glad to have a tiercel from that bloodline. On a trip west to Arizona, Hannibal took this beast, an antelope jackrabbit:

As Jenn points out, "very few falconry birds have ever caught this species." No wonder: restricted to parts of Mexico and southern Arizona, Lepus alleni grows to as large as 13 pounds (among North American hares, only the Alaskan hare is bigger) and its top speed approaches 40 mph! Jenn's comment, "I think Mike would be proud of Hannibal for this catch," is a decided understatement.

No comments: