I went out flying with Tim yesterday morning but there were no ducks to be found on the little pond. MacDuff flew over the pond, took a quick look, then headed for a flock of pigeons that were coming off a nearby horse farm. He chased the pigeons then took some passes at a ball of starlings that erupted from a clump of trees. Finally he came back over the pond, hoping his fortunes had changed. No such luck.
Tag Archives: peregrine
Weather brings ducks —
Tim flies his peregrine but
no duck dinner yet.
As the days get colder in Upstate New York there’s hope that the ducks will begin migrating through with some regularity. Each day, before dawn, Tim gets up, puts his peregrine MacDuff in the back of the truck, and starts driving around the countryside in search of ducks that might have dropped into ponds during the night. So far there’s not been much action.
A piece in today’s Scotsman newspaper out of Edinburgh says that the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds — Britian’s “Audubon Society”) has had more than 50 reports of crimes against the protected birds of prey already this year – compared to 79 for the whole of 2007. The RSPB is pointing the finger at “rogue elements” within the pigeon racing and game shooting communities, and criminals intent on taking eggs and chicks for falconry
“THIS year has been one of the worst on record for the persecution of peregrine falcons, conservationists said yesterday . . . ” (click here to continue reading).
I posted this on YouTube a while back. It’s of my husband, Tim Gallagher, getting his peregrine ready for hunting. I just use a little Flip video so I can’t get a flight shot so maybe it’s waste of time to watch, like one viewer said, but it’s documentation of a little piece of the falconry culture.
I went hunting with Tim right after Christmas. He drives to a pond several miles from our house where he hunts ducks. We’d had a recent thaw and there was quite a bit of open water on the pond so he was hopeful that would draw in some ducks. It’s tough to see how many ducks might be on the pond from the road — as they tend to hide in the reeds along the edges — so it’s a bit of a crapshoot when you put your bird up.
Tim was acting as both falconer and bird dog that day. After he put his peregrine Macduff into the air, he snuck up to the pond by approaching it from the side where there’s a high berm. He spied several mallards on the far edge so he kept his eye on his bird and when he was in position high overhead, Tim rose from behind the berm and yelled and clapped his hands like a madman. The mallards took off low and hard, and although Macduff had a wonderful stoop at them, he was not successful in hitting any that morning.
My husband takes his peregrine Macduff to the field and lately its been getting a duck a day. Macduff isn’t satisfied with going after hens or smaller ducks — he targets the big drake mallards. Our freezer is getting full. Fortunately, the kids like grilled, marinated duck breast.