I am a second-generation daughter of European and Russian peasants. I am not the bastard great-great granddaughter of French or English kings. There is no rational explanation for my love of falconry. When my Burgundy group (Les Chevaliers du Tastevin) had a weekend event planned in Vermont, I flew into a tizzy at the opportunity.
The Equinox Inn hosts the United States branch of the British School of Falconry. I knocked Mr. Etherknitter to the floor in my rush for the phone. "Me me me me!!" I shouted into the receiver. "Of course, Ma'am. May I also take your name?"
It was early on a damp, chilly spring morning. A young man gave me a pair of Wellies, a Scottish coat, and a leather glove. We trekked out to an apple orchard, past sleepy cows, through misty meadows, Harris hawk on left wrist. It is always the left wrist.
Hawks do not develop relationships with humans the way cats and dogs do. All behavior is driven by hunger and hunting. The hawk is not flown unless she is hungry, as the lure to bring her back to the hand is food. If the hawk isn't hungry, she doesn't come back. Period. Her weight is tracked carefully. She is taken out to fly only when she is several grams below her fed weight.
The lure is a tiny piece of raw chicken meat. Harris hawks have quarter-mile vision, so a square centimeter of lunch works. Mr. E was a great photographer, and caught Miss Piggy responding to the lure.
Knitting? Oh, that. Next post, I promise.