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Old 26-12-2013, 06:33 PM
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Dave Sharpe
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Default Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Zeus is a male goldie, produced by the great man- George Mussared 2013. He's fully parent hatched and reared by his own parents- exactly what I wanted. Reared in an open fronted pen enabling him to see dogs, lawn mowers and people etc from Day one! Resulting in a very steady and feather perfect bird from day one of training.
I can't thank George enough for producing yet another stunning eagle.

The thread may well go a bit awry on here........ but I'll try and update pics and stories in no particular order!

Her'es todays events:


I had a short window to get Zeus out in the fine afternoon weather. An hour or so is all we had in the field. The first hare was unsighted and Zeus flew off in the wrong direction, and worryingly gained height into the slight breeze- he cirlcled around me 3 times before coming back in. This was very pretty to watch, but I could see him scanning around whilst on the wing and the last thing I want is for him to take a hare sitting in it's form. The next slip was a long one, he flew the hare but as it neared the distant hedgerow Zeus pulled off and again soared slightly on his way back to me, then a hare got up right under him, zeus went to wing over but then the hare had already ran under him and away, instead of chasing, Zeus came back to me, but landed on the ground nearby- another hare got up right next to him-and he watched run away! 3 hares wasted! I was by now sweating,as usual I'd overdressed! And was thinking the damn birds too fat to commit(although he was on perfect weight...) The next hare got up jut behind me, the superb JM Falconry Hoods slip on hood was off before I'd turned to see the Hare! The hare was off up hill, but this time Zeus was oozing confidence and was powering after it-not missing a wingbeat. The eagle flicked over, the hare dodged, but the eagle turned too and powered back after the blur that thought he had done enough. Go -on boy I was thinking loudly! Zeus was now all over the hare, he shot out one of his long legs upto his armpits that most girls would be proud of, YES!!....NO!! DAMN IT! the hare was now head down, rocketing skywards tailfirst 4 feet up he went...Then time started agan, the hare hit the ground behind Zeus and went up through the gearbox like rossi leaving the start line. Zeus came back to the fist with talons full of fur, soooo close, and the closest yet!!

The last hare was right back at the van, I had quartered a field slowly(not easy walking up hares alone!) and he hare got up with a loud rustle of rape leaves, the hood was off in a flash, but the hare had used that flash to go into warp drive before Zeus was even airborne, I could see the hare would reach the all too near hedgerow and was willing him to run straight through into the next field! As the Hartley made the hedgerow, Zeus anticipated a run through and went up to clear the hedge, but we both saw the hare turn and run the hedgebottom, Zeus changed his plan and CRUNCH! he hit the hedge feet stretched forward, the hare chuckled and knocked his legs down a gear, and was gone! Zeus is everything I hoped he would be so far- and just needs the field hours to become what nature intended!


First time on the glove- when George pulled him from the pen and had him cast under his arm- ready for me to fit the furniture, I will admit I saw those feet and thought 'oh heck'!
And when holding him here I was a little tense, not sure how the bird was going to react- the result being my arm was killing me-much to the mirth of George and my good friend Mike!
George went and got his arm brace and said 'maybe you will need one of these- I do' They both fell about laughing again when Mike said' yeah, but George is nearly 70 and flies a female!!'

We drove all the way back from Hull, and I was excited and nervous to the extreme! what will tomorrow bring?!
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Old 26-12-2013, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!



Zeus (who didn't have a name for two weeks or more....) was left hooded and boxed the first night, then hooded at night in his mews for a further week. This is the first morning at home, I didn't sleep much the night of collection, everything was going round in my head- mostly worrying if id end up in casualty the next day if it all went wrong! When I peeked into the box in the morning, to see Zeus had got his hood off(something he hasn't done since, oddly) I did think '******'! Of course, nothing to worry about, and With careful training Zeus has been a puppy dog from day 1.
Pen weight at 16 weeks was 9lb 8oz, the first morning he was 9LB 4oz, and not fat at all on the keel.

We popped him out of the box when I dropped Mike off, and weighed him at Icarus.


My goal is to have a puppy dog eagle, around food or otherwise. fit, bombproof, not vocal, and a good hare hawk. and a bird I enjoy being a slave to for a very long time!

He was left food by his block, and unhooded as I walked away and hid. This went on for a week, and would be he only time he saw food at home.He ate within 2 minutes the first time he was left food, and incidently he regained his block after a bate by he first day-although hooded if he bated too much, and unhooded after a while. he was hooded if I left him the first week-My big paranoias were stress induced aspergillosis and damaged legs!


I wanted a small male goldie! bu George bred them how I wanted, but his are a tad large!nice feet........
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Old 26-12-2013, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

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Old 26-12-2013, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

after a week of manning and going through all the pleasantries, Zeus was offered food on the glove at a busy horse racing event?! he ate without fuss, despite being fed well and a weight of about 8lb 12 being maintained. so the second day at the event, with a dog agility display going on 30 yards away, I tried jumping Zeus to the glove- no problems at all!! pleased? yes!!



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Old 26-12-2013, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

maning was going well, I constantly fiddled with his feet, and unlike most hawks I've manned, with zeus I regularly 'stroke him', feel his keel and underwing muscles and legs etc. I also clean and look after his feet regularly and clean his beak after a feed- he has a lovely habit now of as I hold my loosely clenched fist up, after he's fed- of putting his beak inside and feaking.
He was almost bombproof with the outside world- of course using the hood,as I do for most hawks, meant the ability to develop a bombproof bird fast( those that don't understand hooding- will not get that last bit at all!!)
So it was time to move forward with training-with a view to getting those big flabby muscles working!
I had and have a clear goal of what I want him to be, I've been out with eagle lads for several years now, asking advice, watching and listening. I've read everything I can find eagle wise for many years. Whilst I have my way of doing things nowadays,and may not take all the advice I'm given, I know what looks good and might fit in with me and what looks naff, that maybe I could overcome with muy eagle.
So generally the way I have done some things may seem odd to others, but has been for a reason, even if the reason doesn't work in others ideas!

Zeuswas called to the fist from day one of training, to small bechins hidden in the gloved palm, he is always hooded when I take food from my pocket, and is never ever robbed of food on the glove. I always use my bare hand to feed him pieces pulled off his meal, if more than a bechin. And twice when food has fell onto the floor I let the bird jump down, walk a way, and call him back up to the glove. He is fed anything upto a hares back leg on the glove, if that is what I'm giving him. Zero aggression.

once Zeus was coming well on the creance, it took a few days to get his weight right for this. He would always come to the glove, but ould be hesitant at times even over say 12 feet. He was fed for what he worked for and his weight gradually came down to a weight he felt confident at, and actually soon went back up a few ounces for training work, once he had the idea.

Pulling a light rope meant that he has to flap his wings and cant glide-so keeping the muscles pumping-sometimes he's on his way back before I'm at the full rope length!!

zeus is never fed food off the floor-ever! he was started at the ropes furthest point by placing food onto a rubber car mat,and over time I have cut this down to about 10 inches square for my convenience. the food shows up well on this mat-and is unnatural-not something he will find everywhere we hunt!
Why? or why not astroturf? Because I have heard stories of eagles that have been hunting already, being trained on some ropework to improve fitness- the food being placed on the ground at both ends. shortly after the bird then flying out of the hood, missing quarry, then going soaring-scanning the field below for food- spotting form sitting hares, catching them, unbreakable bad habit formed. coincidence? maybe, but I'll stick with the mat!
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Old 26-12-2013, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Zeus was clumsy and unfit to begin with, not being able to pull the rope if it got wet, or it snagged on a tiny piece of grass. Things slowly but surely changed with daily exercise. And it was time to do more lure work to sharpen up his senses and fitness. I began by having an assistant pull a foxpelt or a hare carcass on a 30 metre line( in a desperate attempt to distant the runner from the lure,,,,,!) This was great for a start, but I was paranoid about Zeus connecting food with joggers! and of course it meant relying on an assistant! So I thought a lure puller would be the thing, but then it would mean planning ahead because my training field is a half mile walk away. So in the end a rc car pully was used!! I can carry this in a big rucksack and operate the car, the eagle and the hood with to hands,just! This lure bounces about like mad, goes fast and I can also turn the car left and right, I think its the best mock up I can use!
The first drag was out in the field, by hand, using a fresh caught Hare that was Travis's AHE first kill! Zeus was a puppy dog on that and is with every carcass or lure since- he has no reason to be aggressive and so far isn't!-which is nice!

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Old 11-01-2014, 06:56 AM
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A good read,sounds like youve plenty of hares about,im sure he will catch one very soon.atb bob

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Old 12-01-2014, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Thanks Bob.
Yesterday The eagle weathered in the sunshine on a swing perch up my friends falconry centre, while I ran a photography day with various small exotic creatures!
Today Zeus came with me to a big local garden centre to do some promotional work. as usual he was totally chilled out with all the crowds- happily preening under his wings etc, and at one point he went all slitty eyed and nearly nodded off, and didn't bate once in several hours.

So two days without flying, and Tomorrow he wont fly as I'm going to try not feeding him again before a hunting day down Newmarket way, where last time there were lots of hares that never get hunted.......
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Old 14-01-2014, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Todays planned trip to new hunting grounds went wrong! the gentleman who invited us was unfortunately unwell. So we spent the afternoon on local ground!

Zeus didn't get any easy slips at all, 'HARE!' was shouted in the second field, Zeus' hood was off and the bird away.When I spotted said Hare I realized It was a wasted slip, far ahead and almost to cover,Zeus flew it and then turned back to the empty glove.
Next slip was an unsighted hare for the bonnelis....The bonnelis then treed up, looked around and stooped into a sneaky hare in cover-but missed!
Next field-HARE! I slipped Zeus but the hare again was already near the far end of the field, The bird made it to the hedge not far behind the hare-who must have stayed in the hedgebottom. Zeus hawkeed along the hedgetop left and right, then he winged over the other side of the hedge. He didn't reappear, so I ran don the field, glad I had my inhaler with me!! When I got there Zeus was 2/3 of the way across the next field! He had his shoulders dropped somewhat and I hoped.... After a good few seconds he got out of the rape and made his way back to me, landing 50 yards away, then flying to the fist again. Zeus was beak open and puffing hard, I've not really seen him like this after a flight.
I think the breathlessness and the dropped shoulders meant he had got up after the hare and rechased, and I think he must have had a really good try at footing it out in the field where he was grounded.

Almost as Zeus landed on the glove, the bonnelis slipped another unsighted hare!
We then walked a small patch of long grass,that looks perfect for rabbits and hares to lie in-but they never do!! I unhooded Zeus incase a bunny did make a short run into the hedge, he bated at 'nothing' I held him back, and a big hare got up a few yards in front!! Zeus was off but the hare ran to the closeby hedgerow,Zeus went over and away. Then the sodslaw happened, I ran down the hedge to get to a gap and see where the eagle was, Two steps forward and another hare broke right underfoot and ran the right way! into the open field-bummer.I looked round to see Mike's hand on the Bonnelis hood, but self control won!
Finally getting through the hedge I saw Zeus flying away-a short whistle and he turned round and back to the glove.
Two fields further on and we were at the end of walking a long field, I looked at Mike to see where he wanted to go next, he said 'mind out' as the Bonnelis flew straight at me,well just past me! shhhhwwww the sound of those wings slicing through the air close up-very fast bird! The hare jumped a ditch into the next field and went uphill, the eagle went over the hedge and closed on the hare rather quickly- a really good attempt at footing-but the hare had all the right moves-up he went into the sky, the eagle was beaten on that manoeuvre.

One more long range 'call it a day slips' for each bird and they were fed up-Zeus had a nice quail when he returned to the glove.

Oh I forget-Zeus had another funny flght, a hare broke behind me, and I was unhooding and spinning round on the spot to keep the hare in sight, the eagle went away up the hill, the hare turned down hill and zeus flew uphill50 yards more before waking up! he then flew so far after the hare that was in the next county, that I ended up whistling at a buzzard,by mistake- I was now in the next field, and shouted zeus- he came flying back over a hill top looking for me-phew!

One thing today, the bird did some mileage in the air!
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Old 14-01-2014, 09:52 PM
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Nice!

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