Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Good Branch Is Hard To Find--From The Perch Of Harris Potter

Here’s what I like about you humans.

Every time my hunting partner takes me with him to a library or a bookstore, you not only seem surprised you usually smile and fawn over me like I’m the wild kingdom’s answer to Bono or something. Pretty rich. It sure beats the jack rabbit out of hugging a cold branch and tucking into the trunk of an evergreen—or if I’m at home in my native digs, a desert sororo cactus—after dark.

I’m a four-year-old Harris hawk. If I don’t say so myself, I look pretty cool up close. Sleek profile. Black, brown, and white plumage, tufty soft to the touch. Definitely no vegetarian—not even an omnivore—but I hope you won’t hold it against me.

My hunting partner Andy calls me Harris Potter or HP for short. I’m pretty happy that I ended up with Andy, in spite of the corny name. He flies me all the time and we go hunting together—or rather I do the actual hunting. The best part is I make Andy do the grunt work, beating through the thorns and thickets like some sweaty maniac down below while I soar deftly overhead or move from tree top to tree top keeping an eye on things, waiting for the moment when it’s time to make my move. I pity the poor guy, stuck like that on ground, but at least he always makes sure I don’t go hungry, whether we catch something or not. Then, to top it all off, he sometimes bundles me into my cozy box and whisks me off to play the rock star in front of a bunch of you folks.

Is that a sweet deal or what?

Andy likes to prattle on about birds of prey and conservation and the important role I and my compadres play in the environment, but I know that you’ve really showed up just to see how cool I am. Andy’s written this awesome series of private eye novels with hawks and falcons in them too—at least that’s what most of you say when you talk with us. He’s even figured out how he can sign one of his books for someone while he keeps control of me on his other gloved hand.

That’s the only part that’s bugging me really. When does yours truly get to start signing books?

If we could only figure out how to keep the ink from gumming up my talons………

Predatorily yours,
Harris Potter


JLC said...

What an unexpected pleasure to find an essay on falconry! Have you read T.H. White? If not, you have a treat in store. He refers to the art/sport in THE SWORD IN THE STONE as well as in a group of wonderful essays I can't recall the title of now.

Treat us to some more pictures, if you have them. I like the name! Is it unusual to hunt with a male?

Thanks for a real change of pace.

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