This is why I came here. To watch nature run its bloody course.
All week I was being tiercel-teased by the raptor outside the front door. I’d walk by and he’d stare into space (well, stare into his blinding hood and listen intently), and he’d mutter out of the side of his beak derogatory comments about me, sometimes using unintelligible slurs I had to make some dark inferences about.
He also kept bragging about what he was capable of. But so far I’d seen nothing.
But on two occasions, he came in the house. Not on his own. This isn’t a Far Side comic. But he was brought in for some kind of exercises and show and tell.
If you notice the bandage on Orsbai’s (the eagle hunter’s) finger in the photo at top, that’s from a talon slash on one of these occasions. Orsbai had the bird out, dressing him in some kind of leather bondage that I don’t fully understand, and took a scratch that cut about an inch and a half across and probably five bloody millimeters deep. I would’ve told him to go to the hospital if we were in a Western country, but we’re not. So we washed it with cold water and alcohol, and then I put some Neosporin and a dirty bandage on it. It was pretty much what your own hospital down the street might do if you don’t have insurance.
Then finally on our last day together, Orsbai, his squeaky son, and I took the bird out for a spin and within moments of letting him go from a mountaintop, he’d stopped a big ol’ fox dead in his tracks.
Well, he would have stopped him dead if he’d been allowed to finish the job, but he’s well trained. Instead he just grabbed him with his talons and held him out of commission until the eagle hunter and his son could take the fox by the tail and swing him around in a loop to knock his head dead against a rock. You don’t want to ruin that pelt.
The whole hunt was something to see, but I don’t think I need to see it again.