A couple of months ago, I posted about visiting a friend who builds physical worlds — John raises poison dart frogs, homing pigeons, and a bog of carnivorous plants. He also has a peregrine falcon named Luz. On Saturday, he invited us up for an afternoon visit. On the agenda: take the falcon out for exercise and hunting practice and then go eat poutine and drink craft beer. Can we say perfect day?
The first fun discovery was falcon transport. Luz goes in the back of John’s Honda Element. So the next time you’re driving and realize you can’t see into the back of the car in front of you, just think — there may be a falcon instead of a back seat!
Luz is hooded before she’s moved because otherwise she’d panic — the car moves fast, of course, and she can’t process the movement when she isn’t the one in motion.
Once out there, John attaches a couple of transmitters to her tail in case something goes wrong, and they get separated — she’s trained, so this isn’t usually an issue — it’s in case of emergency. He removes her hood, and then he lets her fly!
Luz flies for several minutes, spiraling higher and higher, which builds her muscle. And then John starts to swing a lure (quail) for her to dive and practice catching it. Peregrine falcons hunt smaller birds and catch them midair in their talons (unlike some other hawks which hunt squirrels and other small earthbound animals). After about 15 passes, John lets Luz “catch” the lure.
She sits by John and eats so that she gets used to bringing what she hunts to him.
Cool, huh? And to think — he does this three times a week to train and exercise her!