Clip | H is for Hawk: A New Chapter - Falconer Helen Macdonald Takes Goshawk for Test Flight

Author and falconer Helen Macdonald takes her new goshawk Lupin out for a first test flight. As a precaution, the hawk is tethered with a long line of braided cotton called a creance and outfitted with a radio transmitter should it fly out of sight.

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(tranquil music) Time runs forward, and Lupin scarcely misses a step of our intricate training dance.

Lupin is currently two pounds, ten ounces.

You know, she's responding really well to that weight.

She's very, very attentive, she's feeding on the fist, she's completely in the right zone.

(tranquil music) (scissors snip) Before a hawk flies free, a falconry bell the size and shape of an acorn is fixed onto its topmost pair of tail feathers, next to a tiny radio transmitter mount.

These help us find the hawk if it flies out of sight.

(bell jingles) Right, sweetie.

I know you're a bit noisy now, but.

First, though, I fly Lupin on a long line of braided cotton called a creance.

It is both a literal line of attachment and something more than material reassurance.

(Helen whistles) (bell jingles) (orchestral music) That went brilliantly.

She's in a ferociously good mood right now.

And so am I.

I mean, I sorta think she's ready to fly free.

There was no hesitation there, she didn't try and veer off.

She just, in fact at one point she was so desperate to come, she didn't let me walk away.

So, she completely trusts me, she wants to come to me for food.

She isn't thinking about flying away.

I think we're there.