Saturday, March 01, 2008

The formel's eye: Blakeman


The photo 2/28/08] of the Riverside female, the head close-up with the head tilted way over, clearly shows the light brown iris of the bird. This is almost surely a third-year female. Older adults have much darker, chocolate-brown eyes.

You can also see the slightest variation of color between the upper parts of the iris and the lower parts. The upper edge is very slightly lighter in color. This variation is typical of third-year adults.

Next year, the iris will be uniformly dark brown.

Once again, the tiercel mate is almost yellow-eyed, but with a red tail, so is in it first year of adult plumage, a two-year old.

This is a young couple, a two-year male (tiercel), and -- I'll try to get used to using (and explaining) the term -- a three-year old "formel."
I like it. I hope falconers can be persuaded to resume usage of the term -- after a few centuries.

And yes, female hawks are a bit more "formal" than the tiercels.

--John Blakeman

PS Both photos are courtesy of The first was labeled by John Blakeman