The Intrepid Austringer
A few years back when I was just getting interested in falconry, I read Tim Borrill’s fantastic book, Kai. In it he quotes from a medieval source:
“When one sees an ill-formed man, with great big feet and long shapeless shanks, built like a trestle, hump-shouldered and skew-backed, and one wants to mock him, one says, ‘look, what an austringer…'”
That sums it up pretty well.
The Future Apprentice
No self respecting falconer does the menial work that’s involved in caring for and hunting birds. After all, this is The Sport of Kings. Thus, I have put my young daughter to work doing all those things I’d rather not. God gave to this young beauty a deep love for nature and for birds however, so she has never complained once about anything she gets to do. If she ever did, it would be off to the stocks for her!
“Quack-Quack” (My first)
You never forget the first one, the one that taught you more than books could ever impart (and far more than any sponsor ever did!). Trapped at 1485 grams, she took 16 days to eat off my fist. She was a sweet soul, and the only thing I regret is that her first hunting partner was so ill-formed. She changed the way I see the woods, the fields, and beautiful fall days. Now she’s back in the wild living the high life, free from that sway backed, slope shouldered fool who ran through the woods harassing her and yelling, “Quack-Quack, come back!”
Thorin Oakenshield (The Present Superstar of the Team)
I chose this picture because it shows the biggest difference between Quack-Quack and Thorin. Thorin gets to eat squirrels out in the woods because he catches them. He anchors our team and like a blood-thirsty tyrant, he demands every drop of sweat we have in search of hapless victims. In his first season he took over forty squirrels and rabbits, not to mention a snake, a crow, and countless mice.
Stormfly is our newest recruit on the team and is just now beginning to prove herself as a hunter. She’s already won our hearts as a sweet little companion though! There’s no better bird for snuggling up on your shoulder and nipping your ear to death than her.
Every great big game hunter has his natives that go out and beat the brush. Thorin Oakenshield has only the best! It may seem like they are simply running around in the woods laughing, jumping over logs, and hitting trees, but in truth they are keen eyed, cold-blooded hunters. Don’t be fooled.
Scout is a one year old Decker who made his way through several owners in his first year, which might be concerning to a smarter and wiser falconer but it certainly didn’t phase us. Actually, most of it was just a matter of changing life circumstances for those guys and, let’s face it, Scout has plenty of energy to power himself and a small city on the side. I’m seriously looking for a dog sized hamster wheel so I can figure out how to start converting electricity. You can watch the video we made for him:
The Roustabout [Retired]
Ol’ Willy served us well in our first season by loyally following along and sniffing things. In our second season though, which was much more active, he decided his time would be better spent holding the couch down. That’s fair. He’s an old dog and he’s earned it. Now we’ve added Roustabout 2.0, named Scout, and he’s learning the ropes from the old man.