The 2006 GFA trapping seminar was held
on Saturday, August 19 at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville,
Ga. with Mark Hildebran and Alan Drury instructing.
The activities were
inside for the first time utilizing the Walters Athletic
The event was a success (in more than one way) as evidenced
by the following message from event coordinator Buster
For all you 40-plus folks who attended today's seminar
Academy, let me say a big thank you
for your presence and
attention. Mark Hildebran and Alan Drury, as usual, did an outstanding
everyone the ins and outs of proper trapping techniques.
A special thanks to Kyle Taylor and
his mom (Vicki) for their help in last minute
set up and breakdown and so many others I'm sure that I
am UNINTENTIONALLY leaving out. I
thank all you folks, but the person who made
this all happen today was my wife, Sandy. She worked like
crazy to make this whole day happen and I will be eternally grateful.
But for you folks who didn't
quite stay until only a few remained.
YOU MISSED ALL THE EXCITEMENT! As Mark Hildebran and Lauren
Stanley were headed
to the car for the trip back home they were in for a surprise.
Rounding the corner of the building at the parking lot
(near the busses), there, in the back
of Smokey's (Alan's) truck was a Red-tailed hawk obviously checking out a cardboard box on the tailgate.
and Lauren's first thought's were something to the effect
of "why is Katie (Smokey's bird)
sitting out here in the sun on the tailgate of the
truck?" Then they realized that the bird was smaller
than Katie and it finally turned
so that the tail was visible. Yep. It was a
PASSAGE RT, obviously hungry and checking out Smokey's
box on the tailgate for some vittles.
As Passagers tend to do, it didn't fly far...
just to the trees right next to the gym and Mark noticed
right away that something was wrong
- the bird had a badly broken leg. (A
quick note: at the rear of our campus is a long-time RT
that has been utilized each and every year of my six years
Lakeview. I have watched it closely each and every spring
to see how many chicks hatch.
This year I have seen two babies (and heard
them screaming for mom and dad to feed them) since late
After watching them next to their mom on the tennis court
lights a few times, both looked to be tiercels.)
Before I go any further, let
me ask you, if you were a bird of prey in
the state of Georgia (or anywhere else for that matter)
and you were
injured, who would you want to walk up on you? Why Mark
course. The guy and his wife (& vet) Jessica only care
for 30+ raptors and Lauren of course,
works at their clinic. Ok we all know that.
Now the rest of the story.... Immediately
Mark sends word to those of us remaining in the Walters
Athletic Center that we've got an RT that needs to be trapped.
after the trapping seminar, right in the parking lot
of the Walters
Center! As the rest of us walk around the building, Mark
to set up the bow trap and Josh Shockley is putting out
his BC right
in the parking lot. There's only one problem... no gerbils,
anything else to use as bait. The bird looks so hungry,
turkey neck and some cooked barbecue are put in the traps.
That's the best we had. Nothing. But
the bird is staying put. Josh Shockley to the rescue. He heads to the nearest pet store and comes
minutes later with a sad excuse for a small white mouse.
Long story short, once the bird gets
a good look at that mouse he practically takes
Mark's head off to get to the little guy in the middle
of the bow net. Mark is practically
standing on the trap when the RT hits it hard.
It happened so fast I could barely get the camcorder I
was carrying to the spot. (Haven't
yet looked at the footage, but I was further
away than I wanted). Thirty minutes after the conclusion
of the seminar, we have a trapped, 1000 gram
RT right in the PARKING LOT!
I HAVE THE VIDEO TO PROVE IT! One of the bird's legs
was not just broken,
but dangling. However, as I said before,
if you are a bird of prey and you
injured or ill in the state
of Georgia, then you want Mark Hildebran
to welcome you into his home.
Unbelievable. And some say there is no GOD!
..........and this from Mark:
I was sitting inside the semicircle of the bownet working
on setting the trigger and untangling the net. I had placed
the cage with the mouse in it under my butt behind me.
This bird was so hungry, as soon as he saw the mouse he
launched out of the tree in full stoop. Seeing a wild RT
in full stoop stretching out it's talons and heading for
your butt is quite an interesting sight. :o)
He is doing good, leg is broken but we should be able
to fix him. When we got him home I took off the hood, bird
still bound with tape on the feet. and still socked. He
ate 3/4 of a huge rat while still socked. He's feeling
much better now.
Thanks to everyone for helping with the trapping.