Click on an image to view its full caption and open a slideshow presentation.
Alex Paredes readies Chicken, one of his two female Harris’s hawks, for hunting in a Rialto field Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Paredes and his dog Bree, a 7-year-old Brittany, flush jackrabbits and cottontails from the underbrush for Chicken and Darkie, his other Harris’s hawk, to hunt.
Alex Paredes releases Darkie, left, and Chicken, both female Harris’s hawks, from their transport box Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Though the raptors wear straps called jesses, Paredes keeps them untethered when possible. They’re free to fly off, yet stay close and come when Paredes calls them. Still, he puts a radio transmitter on one leg of each bird so he can locate them if they fly out of sight.
Alex Paredes takes his Harris’s hawks Chicken and Darkie hunting for rabbits in a Rialto field Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Paredes chose the two female raptors because they’re larger than the males and therefore can more easily hunt jackrabbits, which are larger than cottontails.
Alex Paredes and Bree kick around in the underbrush in hopes to flush rabbits for Chicken, atop the t-perch, and Darkie, two female Harris’s hawks, to hunt Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Jackrabbit and cottontail make up the bulk of the raptors’ diet, which Paredes augments with quail and the occasional rat.
Darkie and Chicken take flight as Alex Paredes watches for Bree, his hunting dog, Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The two Harris’s hawks soon alighted on bare tree branches.
Chicken, left, and Darkie split a cottontail rabbit that Bree, right, flushed for them Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The two Harris’s hawks are covering their prey with their wings, a behavior called mantling. Alex Paredes bags what they don’t finish and takes it home to freeze for another day’s dinner.
As Chicken, left, finishes eating her share of a cottontail, Alex Paredes starts heading for the truck with Darkie as Bree follows Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Because Harris’s hawks are such efficient hunters, and to save prey for other falconers’ birds, Paredes follows the “one and done” rule: they stop hunting after one rabbit.
Alex Paredes squirts water on a cottontail to keep it moist for Darkie, one of his two Harris’s hawk, at Frisbie Park in Rialto Wednesday, March 1, 2017. After eating their fill of the cottontail rabbit they shared, Chicken and Darkie would not have to eat again until Friday.
Leftover cottontail rabbit, destined for the freezer, sits next to Alex Paredes’ falconry glove Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Now that they’ve eaten, Chicken and Darkie, his two Harris’s hawks, won’t have to eat again for two days.