August 17, 2008
The last two times out Widow has not flown very well. I went up into the mountains last week and flew her in a valley that I have found jacks in before and all she did was sit on the side of a hill never really going anywhere or doing anything. Today was not much different. She was reluctant to fly much, just going on short flights and landing. The plan was to bag her on another pheasant if she flew well. I finally picked her up and we drove up on the bigger mountain and I launched her from there. This time she did go up and way out over the valley and we ended up having to track her, finding her an hour and a half later. She came down from the sky and had been in the air the whole time.
So I have several theories. She is slightly down in weight and more hungry than normal. I wanted to drop her weight; it is not a health issue. That could account for her reluctance to go far from me. Also, she is growing two primaries on both sides and I know feathers can be sore when they come in. For example, I have watched many eagles go in on jacks very carefully, clearly trying not wanting to hit or damage their new feathers, telling me that they are quite aware of them. If her primaries are tender, this could account for her not wanting to fly. In thinking about what has taken place the last two days another thing occurred to me. I am now flying her with dogs and, dogs being dogs, they need to be called back, keeping them close until Widow is in position. I use the same whistle to call the dogs as I do for Widow. Therefore, when Widow hears me whistle for the dogs she thinks I am calling her and that she will be fed soon. And lastly, maybe she just didn’t want to fly those two days.