Bittersweet news - I decided to release Agnes back to the wild this week.
As most of you know, Agnes seemed very comfortable around me right from being trapped. While adjusting her new anklets, myself and another falconer were able to look Agnes over more thoroughly and could see that she most likely had been rehabbed for a leg injury that was close to the body & hard to see.
While she’s fully healed it doesn’t make sense to work with a bird that has had recovered from an injury. She was able to hunt and live fine on her own, but she doesn’t need to be training, hunting, and performing on a human’s schedule.
The kind of hunting we do out here involves crashing into heavy thorny brush and hawk training means managing weight, too. A bird that already put so much energy into healing from an injury shouldn’t be on a falconer’s diet and exercise schedule. She should hunt, rest, fly on her terms.
Also, that is too much time for a wild animal to be around people. She was too comfortable, and it could lead to her making bad decisions later in life. The less time around humans feeding and tending her the better she will do back in nature. Which is where I would release her back to in the spring, regardless.
I am not going to trap another bird this season. With a new job, winter prep still not fully completed, and money I could save not ordering hawk foods and falconry supplies - it was an easy decision to make.
I released Agnes on a sunny day at the edge of a cut corn field.
Good luck out there, Agnes Amaranth.