21 Jul 2012
(E-mails from Paul Higgins, 21 Jul 2012)
I was in the
Promintory Mountains yesterday, photographing Short-eared and Burrowing
Owls. I observed four Prairie Falcons, one of which appears to have
snares or maybe falconer's "jess's" on its legs. They made a metalic
"clanking" sound as he flew.
Any information would be appreciated....
(Comment to Paul's gallery from James W. Ure, 21 Jul 2012)
Excellent photos. This was a falconer's bird. She is wearing jesses. This
particular design of jess--called Almyri jesses--are quite ancient and
designed so that as the bird preens it will be able to pluck free the
long, dangling straps. In a close-up, you'll notice a "button" of leather
right next to the leg. This can be pulled through, removing the leather
strap completely. Then only the leg rings will remain. For now there is
some modest danger in that the trailing leather could catch on something.
However, a great many falconers have lost birds like this one and the
birds have done very well in the wild. I have friends who have re-trapped
birds they had lost years before. It is unusual to see a pure prairie
falcon being flown as a falconry bird these days (And this appears to be a
pure prairie, probably a female from the look of the size). Most falconers
are flying captive-bred hybrids--peregrine/gyrfalcon crosses. They get the
lovely lacey flight of the peregrine with the power of the gyr. Love your
pictures. I frequently marvel at your work.
by Paul Higgins