Initial training

Training, day 1 (see the longer, more expansive post about the first day of training here)

I was lucky to trap Ögedei in the morning because after I got him home  I had the afternoon to train him.  I decided to hood him when moving from the mews to the house, and vice versa, so he couldn’t see the open sky and try to fly off.  It was a difficult experience for both of us as I’d never hooded a hawk before and it would be much easier to learn on a hawk that is cooperative, which he was not.  The initial training was just walking slowly around the garage (with the door down; it has no windows, so makes for a nice enclosed space), letting him get a feel for riding around on a moving object.  William Oakes, in “The Falconer’s Apprentice“, calls this getting his “man-legs”, which I thought was funny but appropriate.  He bated a lot initially but calmed down towards the end of the session.

I took Ögedei into the garage for a second training session.  He rode the fist for 45 minutes and only bated once.  It felt like that was a huge improvement over constantly bating from the fist.  He still wasn’t very happy and held his wings slightly out and beak agape.

Training, day 2

I walked Ögedei around on the fist, this time in the house.  The dogs were extremely interested in him.  Emma jumped up and I don’t know if she was just curious or trying to eat him, but I sternly let her know that that was not ok.  They’re both still interested but at least keep some distance now.  Ögedei bated a six or seven times, but I wasn’t too upset by that.  I offered food but he still wasn’t interested.

Training, day 3

I had a terrible fever that peaked at 101F, but I still had to try and train and feed Ögedei.  I walked him around the house and sat with him on the couch for a while before trying to feed him.  He still refused food, even when it was right next to his face.

Training, day 4

Ögedei finally decided it was time to eat.  He refused to look at the tidbits when they were in my glove, so I worked them up his chest bit by bit.  He ignored them until they were right next to his beak (at that point I was using my right hand with a grey leather work glove to offer them).  Even then, he bit the first one and held the first tidbit in his beak for at least a minute before deciding to eat it.  After that he took the next few tidbits next to his beak quickly.

After half a dozen tidbits next to his beak I moved them in front of him but still in line with his head.  You could see the gears turning in his head and after a few minutes he decided it was safe enough to reach his head out.  I gave him a few more tidbits this way before moving them down to  his midchest.  Again you could see him thinking about it, weighing the food against the danger he thought I posed.  He started forward a few times before deciding half way to the tidbit that he didn’t like bending over for it.

After trying for 15 minutes to get him to bend over even a little bit for a tidbit I decided it was enough for one day.  He ended up eating 18g of beef heart.

Training, day 5

I started training by walking Ögedei around on the fist for half an hour.  He still didn’t like the dogs, so after letting him see them I put them into the yard to play.  At the end of walking around I sat down in the dim bedroom and tried feeding him from the fist.  He still wouldn’t bend over, so I backed up until the tidbit was next to his mouth.  He took it and ate it quickly.  He stretched his neck out for the next tidbit, and then bend over just the tiniest amount for the third.  I worked him down to eating off the glove with three or four tidbits.  After a few more from the glove to cement the idea I moved out into the living room.  Sarah was finishing up dinner and making some noise, which he didn’t like, but he decided it was safe enough to take a few more tidbits from the glove.  Sarah got her dinner and came into the living room to eat.  Ögedei really didn’t like that, and after contemplating the next tidbit for a while picked it up.  After woofing it down he immediately looked over his shoulder at Sarah, who was paying him no mind.  He did this with a few more tidbits before I ran out.    In all he had 19g of beef heart.

Training, day 6

Ögedei was much calmer on the fist.  He didn’t spread his wings out or make any signs of being uncomfortable.

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Domestic falconry

After walking around and watching some TV we went to the garage for training.  Ögedei still wouldn’t jump for a tidbit, which is the important step to take so you can convince a bird to fly for a tidbit, so I took a suggestion from “The Falconer’s Apprentice” and set him up on a saw horse in the garage.  I put him on the saw horse and initially he refused to walk along it for a tidbit at the opposite end with me standing behind the food.  I moved the tidbit half way and he still refused.  So I moved it to where he had to take a single step to reach it.  He balked for a minute, looking at me at the far end of the leash, then looking at the tidbit, and then back at me.  Finally he took the step and ate.  I increased the distance over a few tidbits until he was walking the length of the saw horse.  A few more tidbits and he would run for each bite, then run to where he started to wait for another.

He ate 50g of beef heart which must have been enough for now because I tried to make him jump and he refused.  It’s good that he knows now he has to work for food.  Hopefully he’ll jump to the fist during the next training session.

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One response to “Initial training

  1. Pingback: Further Training | Skvarla Falconry

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