June 19 to 30
Back to June 1
Saturday was a miserable day. The best part of the day was characterized by a heavy drizzle so you can imagine how the rest of the day was. A warm rain wouldn't have been too bad but +8 C on June 18th is unimaginable. Below are some photos from Friday's exercise period in the rain. You will see some birds sitting on the peak of the roof to stop from sliding down and the balance are flying in the rain. The second photo is of a few birds that slid off the roof after landing. Eventually they flew up to join their loft mates.
Sunday was a beautiful day. On the way to the loft at 6:30 in the morning a large brown hawk flew out of the pine tree next to the loft. The Le Tour young birds and stock birds seemed to be indifferent to the hawks presence. Most of the birds exercise well. About half disappeared for about an hour.
Today was another beautiful day. I went to the loft just before 8:00 am hoping if the hawk was in the pine tree earlier it would have got bored of waiting for me. On the way to the loft I noticed that not a young one was to be seen in the windows. When I went upstairs there wasn't a young one in the lobby of the loft. It felt kind of eerie. They were all tucked away in the roasting areas and many were not in their normal section. I suspect the hawk was around earlier but did get bored of waiting for me to let out the birds for their exercise.
When I opened the east door of the loft about 30 birds took off immediately. The rest were scared or reluctant to go out but eventually with some encouragement I got them outside. Over half the birds flew on their own but the others had to be flagged. A group of about 50 birds disappeared for an hour and the rest flew around the loft for 30 minutes. I locked the birds out until 11:00. I thought it would be good therapy for the birds to bask in the sun for a few hours. At this time of year the sun is very high in the sky therefore not as much direct light gets into the loft except for early in the morning through the east door. When I called them in for their late breakfast trapping went very well except for about 5 birds that decided to stay out for most of the day.
The birds were more cooperative about going outside this morning. Most of the birds went up on their own and as usual the infrequent flyer had to be flagged. They stayed around the loft as the rest disappeared for about an hour. When this group came back I was just stepping out of the loft after feeding the stock birds and the same brown hawk flew over the loft and scattered the birds. It made a feeble and clumsy attempt to get a meal but gave up easily and slowly flew off to the west of the loft. I think this hawk is more interested in creating a commotion than it is getting a meal. I like it that way because it's good for the bird's exercise.
Trapping went very well. All the birds except one trapped in a reasonable time.
What a dramatic change in the temperature. A few days ago the high was +8 C and today it reached +32 C in the yard in the shade. The temperature rose to +29 C in the Le Tour loft. The birds seemed to love the warmth and enjoyed their bath more.
The hawk that flew over this morning looked like this guy but bigger. It's wings seemed rather short but wide. It also had a wide tail. It looked rather clumsy as it flew by. Cooper's Hawk
The goshawk is back. I went to the loft this morning a 8:00 to let the birds out for their morning exercise and no sooner than the first 5 birds stepped out on the landing board a goshawk showed up. The 5 birds on the landing board took off immediately and the chase was on. I quickly closed the traps so no other birds would go out. The goshawk picked out its prey and chased it to the open field in front of the loft and that's when I lost sight of the chase. Thirty minutes later 5 birds reappeared as nothing had happened, made a few circles around the loft and landed. Three birds trapped fairly quickly and the other 2 refused to come in. A half hour later the goshawk made another attempt at the 2 birds on the roof but they out flew him and hawk totally gave up after about a 300 yard chase and disappeared over the trees.
The birds were kept in today. Tomorrow they will be exercised at dinner time. I will be exercising the birds at different times every day.
The Le Tour team is shaping up very well. Late last week I let the birds out for their daily exercise in the early afternoon. Most of the them flew for an hour during the heat of the day and another 40 flew for over 2 hours. The vast majority of the birds are exercising very well and I get the sense that they are anxious to get training started. There are about 40 that are in super condition. These are my breakaway group. They often leave the main group and are the last ones to come down. The infrequent flyer group is slowly getting smaller.
Yesterday morning the birds were let out at 9:00 and about 140 birds disappeared and not until the 40 minute mark did 30 return. The rest returned at the 55 minute mark and flew for another 35 minutes. It only took a few whistles to get them down except for about a dozen who chose to fly another 10 minutes longer. The young birds trapped like they were coming home from a race. Boy was I happy. It was beautiful thing to watch.
I had planned to let the birds out earlier but I think the hawk was lurking around earlier in the morning. No stock birds were in the aviaries at 7:00 and in my extra hens and late bred section the birds were in their perches. Some were 2 to a perch which is a sure sign the hawk made a visit. There is a cooper hawk lurking around the brook just up the road. Margie and I have both seen it on separate occasions and as I mentioned before it was around last week and made a feeble attempt to catch a bird.
This morning at 7:00 there was not a cloud in the sky and it was 20 C. It was hazy and the weatherman predicted 34 C with a humidex value of close to 40 C, thundershowers for the afternoon and an UV index of 9. The stock birds acted as if the hawk had been around earlier so the birds were let out at 8:30 and most of them immediately disappeared except for about a dozen who chose to fly around the loft. I counted 6 infrequent flyers on the roof. Thirty-minutes later the main group appeared and flew for another 15 minutes before landing. By this time it was 28 C in the yard and by 10:00 the thermometer read 30 C. By dinner time it was 32 C and still going higher. The humidity was unbearable. In the loft the temperature was a couple of degrees cooler. The only reprieve from the heat and humidity was a slight SW breeze however it was bringing in hotter weather. It's nice to see warmer weather but this heat and humidity can cause more health problems.
Trapping went a bit slower today but within 10 minutes all the birds were in except for a couple of birds. Upon entering the loft the birds were more interested in drinking than eating and understandable so. It was a good day for a bath. By mid afternoon all the birds will have had their turn.
The priority this morning was to release the 2nd Annual Bathurst Race birds for the Long Distance Specialty Club organized by Mike van der Jagt. Bathurst Race
The Le Tour birds were let out for their exercise at 8:30 this morning. It was a much cooler morning. Most birds disappeared for 45 minutes and flew around the loft for another 45 minutes. Yesterday they exercised well for an hour in much hotter weather.