Allen and I drove down to Little Rock for the telemetry scrimmage today. On the way we passed an enormous red tail; Cody and/or Bob said they thought it was a balloon caught on the wire before they realized it was a hawk. I thought about trapping it but decided not to as I didn’t want to sock a bird for 3 hours during the scrimmage or drive straight back to Fayetteville.
After the telemetry scrimmage while driving to lunch Allen and I (following behind Cody and Bob) passed a red tail hanging out on a power pole next to an industrial park. I thought it looked like a juvenile and after a bit of hem-hawing for twenty or thirty seconds decided to turn around. As I was turning Cody called, confirmed it was a RT, and asked if I was going to trap it. I told him I would and would let him know how it went.
After passing the bird and turning around again, Allen tossed the BC trap with Russian hamster 5′ off the highway on a side road to the industrial park. We turned around and waited. The bird was obviously interested, bobbing it’s head and looking at the trap. It swooped down onto the trap after a minute or two. I eased the car up because the trap was on the far side of a small rise in the road. The bird was oblivious to us, the cars on the highway, and the truck that rumbled past it on the side road. The bird footed the trap for a minute and Bam! was caught. She immediately tried to fly off and drug the trap into the highway. I was out of the car and running as fast as I could because I could just picture the hawk splattered on the highway. I got to the bird and a truck was slowing down at the spectacle we were making. In retrospect I need to add more weight and a drag line. I got lucky, but it could have ended in disaster.
Allen and I socked and hooded the bird and drove to lunch. Everyone thought it was a relatively large bird and worth keeping. After lunch I cuffed, jessed, and leashed the bird so it could stand on the fist and slice. Which it did while bating. All over my arm.
Instead of socking the bird again, Allen was kind enough to drive my car back to Fayetteville while I held the hooded bird on the fist in the back seat. She sliced onto the seat cover and Allen’s shoulder twice while we traveled. The feces were brown, so she’d eaten relatively recently and there weren’t any bloody specks or other oddities about it.
After three hours of driving and five minutes from home the bird started making a hacking noise. I smelled something rank and, worried she couldn’t get whatever she was throwing up through the hood, I struck the braces and unhooded her in the backseat. The bird cast up some more rancid-smelling meat and, realizing where she was, promptly bated toward the window. She hung from the fist, thankfully, and I laid her on her back where she stayed for the rest of the trip with that freshly-trapped hawk stare.
After we got home the bird I stood her up on the fist. She bated a few times, but then stood on the fist without bating for two or three minutes. She’s chilling out in the mews with cardboard over the window to keep it dark while she mans. She weighed in at 1195.5g.
I asked Cody and Heath about the smelly meat. They suggested she probably gorged on Thursday and didn’t put all of it over yesterday. There was less than half a tidbit’s worth of meat that came up, and she’s a healthy (if a bit stressed right now) bird, so should be alright. I’m going to keep an eye on her to make sure it doesn’t develop into sour crop, but I think she’ll be alright. I have pedialyte and apple cider vinegar on hand just in case though.
Over dinner I decided to name the new hawk Jebe (pronounced Jeh-beh) after one of Genghis Khan’s generals. It translates to “The Arrow” in Mongolian because he shot the Khan in the neck during a battle. He voluntarily confessed to the shot, saying “if Genghis Khan desired to kill him, it was his choice, but if he would let him live, he would serve Genghis Khan loyally”. Jebe went on to become one of the best (top 3) generals in history.