There comes the day in every young Australian Hobby’s life that it must learn about serious hunting on the wing.
Grasshoppers and dragonflies are great food, but real protein is needed for them to grow.
Dad is not going to be there as a free Uber-delivery for ever.
And so we ventured out on a day when he was getting serious about the training program.
First step was to get them good and hungry. So his regular callbys with quick top-ups, seized-up faster than tripod legs immersed in seawater.
When he did come by they had two new lessons to literally ‘grasp’.
The first was taking the prey from him as he did his best to remain stationary in the sky, holding the latest Fairy Martin.
Then after a few attempts at that he would let the Martin drop, and watch as the young bird followed it down and quickly managed to secure the meal. He also invariably rolled over in a small stoop to pace the tumbling meal, just in case anything should go awry. Needless to say on the attempts we saw, it was 100% score all round.
By the end of the morning, the young were now quite capable of chasing, if not catching the dwindling Fairy Martin fraternity.
At least one came back after a rocketship foray, and if there was a food exchange I missed it, but the young bird came in high and fast so I concluded that it was a successful strike. (If not, no doubt by day’s end their score would have been gaining an impressive run total, just like the Australian Cricket team.)
I suspect this will be the last close quarter encounters with the young. No doubt they will be fed far less and make their own field trips and return with food. All that will happen well beyond the tree line where we currently are working and then… Before we know it, the paddock will be bereft of the young. The parents will move on to other territory and we’ll not see them regularly until next year.
Not sure who has learned the most, but we have certainly gained some interesting anecdotal insight into their growth and development.