It's all go, 7 Parahawking bookings over the weekend and one less big toe nail (see previous post on toe nail). Needless to say we've been a bit busy but I'm definitely not complaining (see previous post on moaning). We're up and running, with Heckle at least, I've thrown together a little video of some of the action but this in no way does Heckle's aerial skills justice. I've trained a fair few Harris Hawks over the years but I've yet to see one that flies like this. She's quite simply incredible, if you don't believe me, you'll have to come and see for yourself. She's definitely a star in the making which sadly the same can't be said for little Jeckle, at least at the moment. But don't despair, one should never give up, he was good once, he can be great again!
I'm starting to wonder if I've started a bit of trend where Paraglider pilots think they can just pick up a Harris Hawk and train it to fly with them. Sadly I can see it happening and it makes me think long and hard about what we are doing. I'd hate for this to become some kind of circus performance where little thought is given to the welfare of the birds and where the passengers are simply offered a joyride with a difference and not educated about the importance of raptor conservation. For me, Parahawking has ALWAYS been about much more than that. In addition to the financial contributions we make towards Vulture conservation projects in Nepal, Parahawking provides a unique insight into these birds inflight behaviour from a completely unique perspective. At the very least, our passengers should come away with a renewed respect for these birds, they should want to learn more about them and the problems they face in the wild and how we can all help to protect them, not just a new Facebook profile picture. I hope we're achieving that, I'm sure we can do more and I promise we will.
If you're a PG pilot and you're thinking about getting a Harris Hawk to fly with you, please think long and hard before you do. We're not part time pilots or bird trainers, this is our life, full time, every hour, every day for nearly 30 years. Please read my post "A Cautionary Note" on the Parahawking website for more on this subject.