Saturday, July 31, 2010

Late start, missed shot

It looked pretty iffy at 7:30am and then it started to rain.  The radar showed a green blob heading toward us.  I was pretty tired and moving pretty slow.  By the time I had tea, then coffee, breakfast, showered, etc.  It was 10:30am and clear!  Plus, I still had the birds trapped up in the loft (not allowing them into the aviary) so they would be easy to box.  So I did.  Still on schedule after all!  I'll have them across the river Monday! 

As I headed down the driveway, a Cooper's Hawk left the tree just in time to fly over us slowly, as if to say "I'll be here when you get back!"  Just before I got to the drop point - another Cooper.  Ewww. 

Anyway, they seemed to handle today's 12 miles pretty easily - taking off in the correct direction with little circling.  They were lounging around in the grass when I got back.  I shoo'd them up into the air.  I'm still free-lofting them and haven't started trapping them in yet.  I'll start that next week sometime.  I still have to get electronic bands on them and get them entered into the computer. 

So 2x2.5 miles, 2x6 miles and tomorrow 2x12 miles will be down!  Then 2x14, 3x23 and 3x42 and 1x64 and I will be done with the road training.  After that, I'll alternate 42 & 12 for conditioning and break point training until race night.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 Young Bird Training Begins Today at 2.5 miles

They boxed up pretty easy.  I think all of the handling Saturday helped calm them down and let them know what to expect.  I like to box them in the morning - strike that - I like to box them in the dark when they are still.  However, I think it's good to let them sleep in their perch each night instead of boxing them all night.  Who knows.

They were pretty funny.  When I opened the baskets, they just walked out and turned around and looked at me.  I wish I would've had my camera for that!  I thought I was going to have to shoo them, but then they suddenly bolted.  They meandered back and forth generally in the correct direction until they were out of sight.  I was a teeny bit worried since the weather started turning (it 30-40% chance of thunderstorms for the next 10 days) but the loft manager reported it looked like they all came in.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ready To Start Training YB Team 2010

Ug! Done with my least favorite part of this - yes, even counting cleaning the loft: vaccinating.  I boxed up the wild young birds and then discovered I had syringes, but not needles.  I had to run into CVS and buy needles.  They only had a 25 gauge needle - not the 20 gauge needle I needed so it was quite a chore getting the syringes filled - it took forever!
I had to stop and stitch up two birds that had what looked like hawk injuries.  I hope they heal okay.  The wounds were open but didn't seem to bother them.  I started at 11am and didn't finish until 5pm.  Of course, there was the trip into town and lunch in there, but otherwise - pretty busy.  I lost one bird, presumably to a hawk, while we were out of town (I had the loft manager free-lofting them to get them settled for training - got a late start this year due to flying out of two loft in OB season - never again!).  Vaccinated 42 on the YB team, plus 5 others.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Old Bird Season over - Looking forward to Young Bird Season

Well, old bird season is over.  I lost my fastest bird on the final 400 mile race.  I got a day bird, which was pretty good since it was a hard race.  The 2009's continued to do lousy.  My "experiment with color" would require too much patience.  So, this year, I kept all the blue checks and blue bars and I have some new blood.  I also have 50% more bird than usual.  I had to add perches for 10 more birds.  They have settled nicely, despite a bit of crowding.  I'm really looking forward to working with them at the end of the month.