Monday, April 22, 2024

Kaya is TWO!!

 Happy Hatchday, Kaya! Alles Gute zum Schlüpftag!

our current favorite photo of Kaya
Today for Kaya is like any other cold, crappy April day. She doesn’t know it’s her hatchday, but we do!

What present would I like to give her? A knitted sweater vest to keep her warm in her mews during this cold snap! If I’m cold, she’s cold. Isn’t that how it works?

AI image created by

What she’s actually getting is a nice big quail (Wachtel) for her hatchday lunch.

We’ve had a fun and exciting second year with her even though I posted precious little about it. We ended her season of 63 hawking days with 52 crows (Krähen), 3 magpies (Elstern), 2 pigeons (Tauben), 1 duck (Stockente) and, quite impressively, two Egyptian geese (Nilgänse)!

Our successes together are no doubt notable for a young bird, but if I average her hawking days with 5 flights each, that’s about 315 flights and a total of 60 kills. I only mention that to illustrate that her quarry still has the better odds.

in a tree in our training ground between flights

She should be molting now, but several things have stood in the way of a good start. Right before the long Easter weekend, I noticed some wounds on the bottoms of several of her toes, which we had looked at by a veterinarian who specializes in birds and reptiles in Karlsruhe. The first available appointment was 12 days later, and as of then we started 3 different medications. Medications are not good for the molt, so we didn’t expect anything during the 6 days she was on them. The wounds are nearly healed and she's off the meds, but now it’s too cold! This cold spell is supposed to last another week, so here’s hoping for a good Mauser re-start next weekend!

Kaya brightens our every day and she is so much fun during the non-hunting season!

This is her cute & curious pose.
She seems to appreciate her evening playtime, when M goes out to toss pine cones for her to catch. When it’s dry enough, she gets the zoomies as she dashes about her mews throwing and chasing the pine cones. Occasionally she’ll do this alone, but she much prefers a playmate or at least at audience.

holding her emotional support pine cone
while staring sceptically at her new carpet

One of her mew perches had lost all its bark, so M replaced it with a nice new branch ten days ago, which she has found greatly upsetting. It’s a lovely perch with a slight bend in it, so if she ever tries it out she’ll see she can sit even higher than before while she watches the neighbors come and go. Since she likes change about as much as we do, she still won't go near it. 

biiiiiiiggggg stretch!
She's such a sweet bird and we love spending time with her whether we're at an exhibition (Jagdmesse), out for a walk, hawking, or just sitting on the patio. She's got a charming personality, which she shows off when she's feeling safe and comfortable. She also tries to be really scary and hawky when something isn't fittin'. We continue to feel incredibly privileged that this wild animal* has accepted us and trusts us - even at her first visit to the veterinarian - and doesn't hold a grudge against us when we try new things like hooding her in preparation for the vet visit or failing to hide her medicine inside her delicious food. That was the first time we ever saw her pick up a piece of food, think twice, and spit it right back out!

*She came from a breeder and has never been in the wild, but a raptor is never tame or domesticated. She will always remain a wild animal, and we, her falconers, must never forget that.

The Verband Deutscher Falkner stand
at the Forst Live Messe (trade show) in Offenburg

We're looking forward to another year with our girl and all the adventures it brings!

Until next time...


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