My Latest Endeavor...

Cathie G

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
10,538
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster
The only thing worse than a cat bite is a human bite. I know people that have been hospitalized due to septicemia from cat bites. No fun. I just didn't know how bad it was for a bird of prey. The raptors seem to be immune to so many other things...
I think it's bad for all animals even if the bite or scratch isn't bad. Pregnant women should never clean litter boxes either. It could cause blindness in their child. I can't remember the name of the virus that they carry naturally. I'm glad your bird got quick medical care and wasn't killed.?
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,619
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
I think it's bad for all animals even if the bite or scratch isn't bad. Pregnant women should never clean litter boxes either. It could cause blindness in their child. I can't remember the name of the virus that they carry naturally. I'm glad your bird got quick medical care and wasn't killed.?
Could you be thinking of toxoplasmosis, maybe? That's the ONLY thing I know of that people can unknowingly get from cats and cat litter, and it is a bad thing...
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,619
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
There is more. Rick and Morty just couldn't be better. Anything that wasn't perfect about them in their first two seasons is getting perfect in this, their third season. As I walk along and watch their decisions and behavior, I just can't imagine how they could do or be any better. They are exactly what I want them to be, and usually do exactly what I want them to do. Its almost like they are trained...

We had a bit of an issue a couple of days ago. While trudging through heavy brush at one of our fields, Morty flew over to a large bush and indicated he saw prey in there. Rick and I joined him and I could hear the brush rustling. With a sudden explosion of gray fur, a large long haired CAT burst out of the bush and took off running for its life. Now we have hunted this field dozens of times and there are no residences anywhere near this area. Its a vacant lot in front of large hotel and next to the back side of a shopping center. I've never seen a cat anywhere near here, but there it was running away at top speed. It burst out so quickly that both birds went for it. There was nothing I could do to stop what was happening. The cat ran up a hill onto a higher plateau that I could not see with both birds in hot pursuit. I was sprinting after them praying as I went. I crested the hill at a full run and quickly saw one bird sitting atop a bush. I heard no screaming and no rustling, so I was terrified that the other bird might have it by the head. As I ran by, I saw that it was Morty sitting atop the bush wanting no part of whatever was going on, and after a moment of frantic searching, I found Rick all disheveled, feathers mussed up, standing looking bewildered behind a bush. The cat was nowhere to be seen. I went to Rick to look him over and the smell of cat **** was all over him. He'd lost some feathers on his chest, but appeared unharmed other than that. After examining him, I turned him loose and we headed back to the car. I didn't know where the cat went and I'd had enough excitement for one day.

Now here is where it is good to know people who know more than you yourself know. I am fortunate to be friends with several very experienced master falconers who have been doing this for decades, and also a board certified avian vet. I recall hearing and reading that cats are to be avoided, and you do NOT want your bird to tangle with one, as death is likely for your bird. As I drove home from the field a bit shaken up, but relieved that Rick seemed to have escaped serious harm, I decided to text a few of the aforementioned experienced friends to tell them what happen and see if they had any insight for me. They did. Four out of four friends all told me the same two things:
1. You're lucky your bird is still alive.
2. Put him on Clavamox right away whether you see any damage or not.
I didn't need any convincing at all. When I got off at my freeway exit, I went left to my local vet friend's office instead of right, to go home. I called ahead and told the receptionist at my local dog and cat vets office what dose I needed and how many. My vet friend there didn't even question it and had it ready for me upon arrival. My bird vet, who is about an hour away, wanted to see him too, but wouldn't be home until the evening.

Rick smelled horribly of tom cat pee, so my wife and I gave him a good warm water rinse off and followed that up with a thorough examination in the sunshine. We parted the feather and looked him over top to bottom, side to side. We weren't finding anything, but then my wife notice a small blood spot on the light colored towel that we were holding him in. It took some searching, but we found a small wound under the feathers of his wing.
View attachment 338774

We sent pics to my avian vet friend, and he told us that it needed to be stitched up. We now had plans for after dinner! My friend is a brilliant surgeon. Watching him work is a joy. All he does is birds, reptiles and other exotics all day long, so he has all the right equipment and supplies ad knows exactly what to do and what to watch out for. We put the gas hood on Rick, did the stitches, and I held him while he woke up, all in the space of a few minutes.
View attachment 338776

By this point Rick had already had his first dose of Clavamox, so he was good to go. The vet advised that I could fly him again in a couple of days, and begin hunting again in 5-7 days. He used stitches that will dissolve and go away on their own, so that is the end of it. Rick seems totally fine and he doesn't understand why we aren't going hunting daily like usual.

I did not know how serious any injury from a cat could be to a hawk. The slightest bite or scratch and the bird could be dead within 24-48 hours. This has happened to many a falconer who was ignorant as I was. I am so thankful to have such knowledgable friends. They literally saved my bird's life. Rick seemed fine to me, and I really didn't think much of it other than hoping that he learned a good lesson about not messing with feral cats. I knew that cats could physically kill a hawk, but I did not realize that infection was so likely to kill them later. I'm lucky that I did not have to learn this lesson the hard way, and I'm overjoyed that Rick and I will hunt together again in a few days.
HOLY MOLY!!!!!! Thank GOODNESS you were smart enough and caring enough to check in with your falconry pals!!!!!
 

Cathie G

Well-Known Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Aug 9, 2018
Messages
10,538
Location (City and/or State)
Lancaster
Could you be thinking of toxoplasmosis, maybe? That's the ONLY thing I know of that people can unknowingly get from cats and cat litter, and it is a bad thing...
Yes that's what it is. It's not a a virus. The subject here on TFO made me Google it to bring up 40 years of past knowledge. I just didn't get a chance to clarify it here. I do know our cat could probably never pass this to us. He's never been outside, exposed to raw meat, killing mice, etc. His parents neither. But I still don't trust getting a bite from a cat. As nice as he is he will still bite. After years with him I do know how to avoid it. If I want to stop petting or brushing him I just take off running ?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
57,270
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Summer is working out great with her new job. She's flying daily and having a good time. Her new owner says she's perfect for his needs.

Rick and Morty couldn't be better. Rick has made a full recovery from his cat adventure and is flying great now despite missing a couple of feathers. He will grow them back during the molt. We saw a bobcat in the field today. It busted out at very close range, much like a rabbit would. For a split second my heart stopped and I thought I was going to witness round two, but both birds decided NOT to pursue. Thank you Angels! It seems they learned their lesson about chasing any kind of cat. We left that field post haste.
 

Thomas tortoise

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2022
Messages
648
Location (City and/or State)
Arkansas
Its taken a long time to jump through all the government hoops and other obstacles, but I am finally realizing my dream of becoming a licensed Falconer. I'm only just beginning my journey, after 20 years of dabbling, but here I go...

I will post lots of pics and keep this thread ongoing, and I invite all discussion about keeping wild animals, hunting, and of course the awesomeness of raptors in general. I find that many people (myself included) are ignorant of what is really going on, and how beneficial to the species falconry is. For example, the Peregrine Falcon was saved from extinction by falconers and falconry, in spite of the dismal failure on the part of government programs to save it. Falconry is VERY different than pet keeping, and it has great benefit for the birds involved who hatch wild and are eventually returned to the wild healthier and better skilled at hunting.

I am now a licensed Apprentice Falconer. I will spend a minimum of two full years as an apprentice working closely under the direct supervision of my sponsor who is a Master Falconer and has been for 10 years. After 2 years, if all goes well, and my sponsor is willing to sign off on my abilities, I will become a General Falconer and be allowed to "fly solo" so to speak.

Enough with the boring words: Here is "Toothless" at our first formal meeting.
View attachment 163624
I almost named him "Phoenix" after I saw this picture. Its kind of a big deal to not stare them in the face at close range at first, so I did not know he was looking at me like that. I'm sure if he could have shot fire from his mouth at me, he would have. My sponsor is not 100% sure if this one is male or female. You can usually tell by the weight. This is either a big boy or a small girl as the weight is right in the middle. We will get some behavioral clues as time passes, but we are leaning male at this point. Toothless is a "passage" (meaning this years baby, or worded another way, he hatched this last spring) red-tailed hawk. Buteo jamaicensis.


Here he is on the drive home:
View attachment 163626
The hood blocks all the visual stimulation and keeps them a lot calmer and safer during this stressful time. Understand that this 9 month old bird was flying wild minutes before this picture and has never had any previous human contact.

Here he is on his weathering perch on day one, while I prepared the scale for his first weighing and got his mew (hawk house) all ready for him.
View attachment 163628


Here we are on day 2 when the old finally came off. This is what I was greeted with.
View attachment 163629


We are now on day 5. He began taking food from me on day 2 and I "man" him (handle him on my glove) for several hours a day as part of the desensitization process. I weigh him at least once a day and I am even more fascinated that I imagined I would be. My sponsor assures me he will be free flying and hunting with me in a month or so.

Lots more pics to come. Please ask any questions you might have about falconry or raptors in general. I'm no expert yet, but I know a few things, and I know lots of guys that can answer any questions I don't know the answers to.
Wow, yeah I would like to do that but I don't have the time and I heard they are very needy.
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,619
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
Summer is working out great with her new job. She's flying daily and having a good time. Her new owner says she's perfect for his needs.

Rick and Morty couldn't be better. Rick has made a full recovery from his cat adventure and is flying great now despite missing a couple of feathers. He will grow them back during the molt. We saw a bobcat in the field today. It busted out at very close range, much like a rabbit would. For a split second my heart stopped and I thought I was going to witness round two, but both birds decided NOT to pursue. Thank you Angels! It seems they learned their lesson about chasing any kind of cat. We left that field post haste.
SO GLAD to hear Rick has made a full recovery!
And what a relief that they have learned to stay away from cats! :)
And I'm happy for Summer- that she has a home that suits her habits so well.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
57,270
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
YO!!!! Tom!
Isn’t it about time for an update on Rick and Morty? :)
I put them up for the molt in early March. They are fat and happy enjoying the fruits of their labor until we start all over again in September. Morty came through the entire season without so much as a ruffled feather. Poor Rick beat himself all up and also had that tangle with the cat, so he's is making good use of the recovery time. He will be good as new after the summer relaxation. He's already dropped some of the broken feathers and started re-growing the new ones.
 

Moozillion

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,619
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA
I put them up for the molt in early March. They are fat and happy enjoying the fruits of their labor until we start all over again in September. Morty came through the entire season without so much as a ruffled feather. Poor Rick beat himself all up and also had that tangle with the cat, so he's is making good use of the recovery time. He will be good as new after the summer relaxation. He's already dropped some of the broken feathers and started re-growing the new ones.
Thanks for the update!❤️
 
Top