Heckled By ParrotsBlue Sky WritingFalconryRebecca K. O'Connor

Examining, Surviving and Loving life with Parrots

This is not the falcon you’re looking for….

10October_AnakinSome of you may be familiar with my falcon Anakin. He has been my hunting companion for 10 years and is the impetus and the center of the story in my memoir LIFT. On May 2nd Anakin escaped from the chamber he was living in while on a breeding loan.  He is a tiercel peregrine (Cassini/Anatum subspecies), 2003 hatch, band number RV084010, wearing anklets, but no other equipment. He was lost in Moreno Valley, CA but he could end up anywhere.

I need to know where he is in order to convince him to come down and come home. Currently there have been no sightings of him. This may be a long game. He is an excellent hunter and likely doing fine in the wild. So it could be months or even years before he turns up.

If you are interested in sharing there is a page on FaceBook with updates and information:  www.facebook.com/JediAtLarge  I would love anyone’s help keeping an eye out for him.

Yesterday, Falcon Finders got word of a found falcon in Nuevo. The story was convoluted… something about a motorcyclist who was in an accident with a falcon on his bike. Possibly, he was dead and his falcon was found in a tree wearing a hood. When we all started calling, the contact person who initially found falcon got cold feet and didn’t want to share any more information. She was adamant that they had already found the owner.

None of this story made much sense…but okay. I know falconers can be intimidating when we are demanding information about a bird. We’ve all had sketchy moments with people who have found our lost raptors. We can be a little pushy when we think someone with no experience has a bird of prey in their possession.

Still, I knew it wasn’t Anakin. He wouldn’t be wearing a hood and no one is going to just pick him up. My only chance at getting him back is for someone to spot him. Then I’ll have to charm him into coming back. He isn’t looking for someone to save him. So I dismissed the story as general weirdness and prepared to move on with my day.

At this point, I got a message through my parrot connections that the person who had the falcon wanted to find a safe place for it until the owner recovered from his injuries. It was nice that people thought of me as a safe and dependable place for a bird to land. I was flattered, but I was still dubious. Still, I listened to the story again and called the woman who had the bird.

She was a lovely and kind-hearted person who swore she knew a falcon when she saw one. Then she told me about how there was a falconer nearby who drove out into the chaparral with a falcon on his dirt bike to train it. The hooded falcon they had found was surely his and that could only mean that the falconer had befallen some sort of tragedy on his motorcycle. In fact, he could be dead! However, no one knew his name or where he lived exactly. He was a loner who kept to himself and a bit of an enigma. The falcon had the initials BH and a heart on its hood though… perhaps that would help solve the mystery.

Okay, I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a good story and this one was divine. It had a broken hero, romance, tragedy, and the possibility for a happy ending. I swooned…. I would take this man’s falcon into my home, nurse it back to health and then I was going to Nancy Drew this. I would FIND this falconer and reunite him with his beloved bird. I hadn’t found Anakin, but I could give someone else a happy ending!

And then reminded myself of Occam’s razor –in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better. I was getting ahead of myself. I asked her to snap a photo and text it over.

This is what she sent:

20140524_180030

I took a very deep breath, choked back my laughter and said, “Well, that’s definitely not a falcon.”

It’s a pheasant wearing a blinder to keep it from picking at its cage mates. There are a couple of pheasant farms in Nuevo. I frequently purchase pheasants for food and training. And this pheasant had sealed its fate….

Fortunately for her, anything with a good story or a name gets pet status in house.

She’s hardly a replacement for Anakin, but she comes with the best story I’ve heard in a long time. Let’s name her, shall we?  Got any ideas? The winner will receive their choice of a signed copy of  The Perfectly Trained Parrot or Lift.

Pheasant Hood

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

Red-Rumped Parrots (Psephotus haematonotus) by M Hooper

If you love this photo too, be sure to click through and go tell the photographer!

Getting Feathered

Morris Transformation

Morris is looking amazing, becoming a pro-trainee and foraging for living. I couldn’t be prouder of him!

I have to admit that I was a bit worried that my all-encompassing plan for Project Parrot Positive might end up being a bust. (And in all honesty, it’s possible that he could start plucking again at any time…) However, his progress has been astounding and I think it’s time to share how we got here.

The plan was as follows:

  • Working with a vet to address any health issues and medicate for stress as necessary.
  • Set him up in the best possible housing with plenty of foraging/enrichment opportunities.
  • Change up Morris’s diet to be as healthy as possible and expand his interest in investigating new foods.
  • Work on simple training to build a positive relationship (and help him “learn to learn”).
  • Train behaviors that encourage interactivity and investigation.
  • Wean him off of stress medication.
  • Raise his weight. (He was still somewhat under normal weight.)
  • Train behaviors to give him a means to seek attention other than worrying his feathers.

We are now at the stage where Morris I’m working on training some fun things to keep him occupied. He’s still doing a tiny bit of feather stripping, but we are on the right track! So in the coming posts, I’m going to discuss the phases and considerations in Morris’ “rehab”. I hope they will be helpful to some of you struggling with feather destructive behavior. There are no easy solutions, but maybe you’ll discover a few things to try with your own birds!

In the meantime, Morris would like to show off his new suit –


YouTube -  

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

Beak by Thomas Hawk

If you like this photo too, be sure to click through and give the photog some love!

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

Burrowing parrot (Cyanoliseus patagonus ) by Erik Schepers

If you think this photo is spectacular too, be sure to click through and give the photog some love.

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

Kea by Jon Mollivan

If you enjoy enjoy this photo too, be sure to click through and give the photog some love.

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

Photo by Ravi Jandhyala

If you enjoy this photo as much as I do, be sure to click through and give the photog some love!

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

Cockatoo by Phalinn Ooi

If you enjoy this photo as much as I do, be sure to click through and give the photog some love.

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

Sun Conure by Danny Chapman

If you enjoy this photo as much as I do, be sure to click through and give the photog some love.

Friday’s Favorite Feathers

CentralParkZoo_Dec. 1, 2013_WATERMARKED_14

If you like this image as much as I do, be sure to click through and give the photog some love.