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The Modern Apprentice



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As with the rest, this is slated to be updated. Some quick shots and videos to start with.

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Hunting in the Scotch Broom.

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Last hunt of spring 2005 - the pup is starting to catch on.

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First hunt of Fall 2005

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First cottontail hunt of Fall 2007

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I mmature Red-Tail - immature birds of many species have unique markings. This bird was just brought in from the late evening to be put in her mews. Notice the way her bright spots show against the dark spots. If she were positioned against a tree trunk, this would look like moonlight shining through leaves to any potential predator. And the way her tail and feathers are held out obfuscates her body form. Her message is, "This is not a hawk."

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I mmature Red-Tail sunning herself.

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I was invited to present a workshop for the Washington state legislature committee taking up legislation dealing with falconry, raptors, and hunting. My long time hunting partner Patty was a perfect ambassador for falconry.

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Burrowing Owl being released after being rehabilitated.

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I was invited to present falconry and ecology information at a conference. This is the educational booth that I produced for that conference.

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I recently spoke to a group of professional dog trainers on falconry and the application of operant conditioning to raptors.

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I recently spoke to a local Rotary club on ecology and raptors.

We train using the principles of operant conditioning. More on this will be added as the website grows. This is a better quality video than the original ones, but it shows a little of what Patty is doing. She is demonstrating "circles" or "roundabouts" here. She is cast off the fist (and if I'm not fast enough, she'll cast herself off) and returns when I have sounded her conditioned reinforcer to get her reward. The point of this is that she is in control of how frequently she gets rewarded. Here you can see a falconry hawk, fat in the moult, still eager to be flying and working. Mentally, she is hunting the tidbits that I have, and the hunt consists of the flights.
Patty doing her circles outside
To narrate what happens here, Patty casts off and lands on the fist at 4 seconds.
Right at 4 sec you can see her looking expectantly across my body at my right hand. I grab a chunk of rabbit out of my hawking bag and toss it to her. You can see her flash her wings and her foot strike out to catch it.
She finishes her meat, picks some bits off the glove, and casts off again just before 22 sec. At 24 sec she lands and I toss her a tidbit right at 25 sec. She caught this with her beak.
As there is no sound, you cannot hear my whistle (conditioned reinforcer) for her flying away from me. She flies away from me until she hears that. She then returns to the fist for another go - in this case she is rewarded with a tidbit of meat for each circle.

All images and text Copyright © 2004 - 2020 - Lydia Ash