Heckled By ParrotsBlue Sky WritingRebecca K. O'Connor

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Operation Desert Dove – Sunday, June 1 2003

Some time ago I took down the archives for the original falconry blog, Operation Desert Dove. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging about the same peregrine for seven years, but there you go. I imagine only those who have been here since the very beginning realize that LIFT is actually very much based on that blog I began when there weren’t very many journals online and I was frequently asked why I was bothering. I was bothering because that blog was printed out and placed in a binder that kept me true to my story. So this week’s falconry flashback is that first and now long ago post….

Baby Feathers

Baby Feathers

What the hell was I thinking?

Eight years ago when I trapped my first redtail I sat in her muse (er- I mean mews. That’s a Freudian type if I ever made one..) I sat looking in her astonished eyes and thinking, why would anyone buy a falcon when they could trap a spectacular creature like this? Of course I wasn’t a full-blown addict yet, so I didn’t get that when I realized I could fly a redtail again (whenever I wanted) things would have to progress. I guess they have.

It was the merlin did it. I should hvae never flown that merlin last season. I told myself, “one little merlin isn’t going to turn you into a longwinger.” I’m a DIRTHAWKER. I would never trade in my blue lightsaber for a red one. NEVER!

Well, meet Anakin, my tiercel anatum/cassini peregrine. My name is Rebecca and I’m a… a…. I’m a Longwinger.

I have say, he is one sexy falcon. If you are going to the darkside, you may as well go with good company. I must have spent an hour last night just watching him preen. I meant to go to bed, but I couldn’t bear to turn out the lights when he was still putting his feathers in order.

Hard to believe I just paid $1000 for a falcon! What the hell was I thinking? I am going to have to fly him free, give him a chance to fly away, break a wing, crack his pretty little head. Wait. It get’s worse. What do I know about flying a peregrine? I’ll probably embarrass myself and my falcon. If I want company and advice in the field, everyone gets to watch me being an apprentice all over again. And I just did that last season and the season before and…. Huh. I guess being a newbie doesn’t end anyway, does it?

Oh hell, I guess I better get busy sewing a lure.

Anakin was born March 24th, pulled from the chamber May 19th and came home with me May 28th. Today he weighs 510 grams and is flying the length of his leash.


  1. Holly says:

    so, enlighten me.



    what is the difference? Is it in training? How do you really *train* a hawk to hunt? Don’t they just do it? Or is it a process? Is it more than teaching them to come back to hand?

    I’m so curious about this…..I don’t hunt but I think I could get into (at least) training the birds.

  2. rebecca says:

    Holly — wow how do I answer all of that in a comment? LOL

    For your simple questions, I would say check the glossary page in the sidebar. (YAY! An actual need for that darn thing)

    Have you picked up LIFT? I think I made (or at least I tried to make) the answers to your questions clear in the book while also exploring what it means to a woman to hunt with a predatory bird. You might like it. At the very least if would give you an idea of whether you truly would want to pursue falconry….



  3. Joe says:

    I do remember that post along with several others that first year. I remember so may of them like the one titled “$1000 on a string” or something like that. As I have stood in the rain and fog over the last few weeks looking for ducks I keep thinking what the hell am I doing. It would be so much easier to trap a coop or or something and forget about all this longwing stuff. Then I look at my falcon doing what he was born to do and I think, nah, I would not trade this for anything. Then again I could always trap a coop for those foggy days…..

  4. Ryan says:

    Ditto to what Joe said except replace Fog with freeze. Subconsciously you probably always knew you were a longwinger.

  5. rebecca says:

    At least you’re going out in it, Joe. I’ve mostly just been moping inside, staring out the window.

    There was a post called “$1000 on a String.” I was thinking about resposting it as well. 🙂

    And Ryan, I guess you are kind of born knowing that you will be going to to the darkside…aren’t you?

  6. Evelyn says:

    I remember that post well. It was “Desert Dove” then, wasn’t it?