Written By: Tuesday, October 17th 2017

Meet Monty!

Monty is a Harris Hawk from Arizona. He’s a pretty chill bird. His handler says he’s a little bit of a chicken but is always happy whenever she changes the water in his bird bath, or sometimes for an extra treat, she’ll add some minnows he can catch. He makes happy noises and waggles his tail and you can tell he’s pretty proud of himself.

His handler Heather is a licensed falconer. She is one of only 200 in Ontario! Since many falconers use birds to hunt, in Ontario you must be licensed to use one. Technically since Monty is from Arizona, rather than Ontario, Heather doesn’t need the course to keep him but she thought it would be a good idea to make sure she was providing the right housing and nutrients for Monty. She took her training with Golden Creek Bird Farm in Severn Bridge. Golden Creek Bird Farm

Normally a falconer will apprentice under an older falconer, but at Golden Creek, it’s an in class, two year course. Heather got Monty in her second year. Prior to that he was a working bird.

He had a job! Airports, farms and dumps often pay for trained birds to be on site and frighten away pest birds. Toronto Star – Pearson airport fights birds with birds

Monty was a Scarecrow for a Barrie Farm! He hung around to scare song birds from eating crop seeds.

Heather lives on a farm and has her ‘indoor’ birds and her ‘outdoor’ birds. Inside she has 3 Cockatiels and a Sun Conure, outside there’s a flock of chickens, some turkeys, two dogs, a few cats and a horse. She says turning 40 brought on a ‘mid life crisis’ and prompted her to get her falconry license. She doesn’t use Monty to hunt, but works with him every day in season to get him to go for walks with her and land on her fist. Heather jokes she’s a ‘crazy bird lady’ like some people are ‘crazy cat ladies’.