The first bird I ever bought. That was in 2005. I got her from a falconry centre in Stratford upon Avon. All the birds there had Shakespearean names, some more appropriate than others, ( her sister was called Gertrude). At the time, we were living in Scotland and I wanted a name to describe a female, bloodthirsty tyrant. And so she got her name.
Some people say she tends to live up to it.
Her flying weight is 2lb 4 ounces or 1kilo 20 grammes. Her wingspan is just over a metre. She's a Harris Hawk ( Parabuteo Unicinctus) as are most of my birds. This particular species is more or less bomb-proof and is ideal for interacting with people with no falconry experience.
A male Harris Hawk, born in 2007. I bought him from a breeder in South Wales. He's a very nice character ( for a hawk), friendly ( for a hawk ) and has the best manners of any hawk I've met. Unlike the miserable git I bought him from. He weighs 1lb 9 ounces or 720 grammes and has a wingspan of just under a metre.
It's not a good idea to ascribe human characteristics to animals, but I can't help feeling that Cassius's attitude to people is " Hello, I'm Cassius. What's your name?" , while that of Lady M. is " You will address me as Your Ladyship. Or I'll rip your head off".
The Sparrowhawk ( Accipiter Nisus). She is extremely fast, aggressive and fragile. For these reasons, although I sometime take her out to meet people on the Hawk Walks, I don't fly her then. She's too much of a danger to small birds, and they have enough problems as it is. I fly her mainly to chase away flocks of starlings from dairy farms, and for hunting in the winter. She has caught a female pheasant and when you consider her flying weight is only 250 grammes, you can see just how fearless she is.
Sparrowhawks are usually considered the most difficult of all birds to train in falconry. I can quite believe it. She grew up in the house, as one of the family, so she is an imprint. This makes the training etc a bit easier. She gets her name, in a break from the Shakespearean theme, from the Greek goddess of hunting.
UPDATE. Unfortunately, I no longer have Artemis. She was stolen. Not all predators or vermin have four legs.
My blog http://northdevonhawks.blogspot.co.uk/ gives an insight into training and living with birds of prey.
I've been sent this photo of one of the hawks, ( I think it's Cassius leaving one customer en route to another). Such a good photo, I had to include it.
Get close to a bird of prey. A practical, hands-on introduction to falconry on Exmoor in Devon. You fly the bird, you are the falconer. Only £40 for a group of four people, in total. You won't get better value.
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