Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Taima's Remarkable Flight!

The Seattle Seahawks mascot is an Augur Hawk who leads the team out of the entrance tunnel onto the field at home games at CenturyLink field in Seattle.  (Sorry, Seahawk is a mythical creature.)

The name “Seahawk” was chosen from 20,000 entries during a fan contest in 1975 to name the new franchise. A close relative is the Ospry,  also known as a fish hawk, common in the Pacific Northwest. The Ospry's marking are similar to the Augur Hawk, native to Africa.

His name, Taima (TAY-ma), Native American meaning "Thunder."

Trainer David Knutson and his wife Robin orchestrate Taima escorting the Seattle Seahawks onto the field.

Robin allows  fans to stroke Taima, an experience for folk who have never had contact with such a magnificent wild animal. And Taima obviously enjoys being the star!

At game time, Robin takes Taima into the team entrance tunnel. David signals Taima to fly to him with a small flashing light that he holds in his hand.

Taima flies into the chaos through towers of flame and in between the cheerleaders, landing on Davids arm. As David points out in the video, Taima's wings are not clipped; Taima is free to head for fishing grounds on nearby Elliott Bay if he so chose.

It's a truly marvelous sight to see such a majestic bird of prey soar with his four-foot wingspan, if even for a brief time.

A Concept is Born

David owns a company called Klear View Resources Inc in Spokane, Washington. Since 1996, David has used his expertise with birds of prey to make sure that aircraft at Fairchild Air Force Base outside Spokane Washington and other bases in Washington and California, don't hit birds on takeoffs and landings.

Mr. Knutson also contracts to provide predator sweeps to vineyards and fruit growers, who often lose thousands of dollars worth of crops to birds every year.

New Seahawks owner, Paul Allen, was pondering ways to stage a game opener, with a hawk. So here is the interesting story of how Dave and Seahawks owner Paul Allen came together to provide a thrilling opening for Seattle Seahawks games.

Training Taima to deal with Chaos

Dave took Taima to Seahawks practices in Cheney to acclimate the bird to people and noise.

He took Taima to Fairchild Air Force base, where helicopters were doing takeoffs.

He took him to rodeos where his wife competed in barrel racing, to acclimate Taima to crowds and noise.

"I needed the bird to not leave the stadium," Dave said. "I didn't want to be that guy yelling, 'come back.'"

So Knutson started having Robin take Taima into their barn and have him fly through the doors, and sometimes through obstacles, to train him to do the same thing under changing conditions.

Taima Goes to Super Bowl Forty Eight

And yes, the gang  went to New Jersey! Taima flew in the cockpit, probably in charge of navigation.

And had his own hotel room..Rumor has it he watched Animal Planet before dozing off.

And finally, we learn Taima does not live in Seattle, but Spokane Washington.  Remarkably, the Knutson's and Taima drive more than 500 mile round trip to Seattle on game day, to fly Taima for the Seahawk Fans and the 12th Man.

Now that is Team dedication!

Hawk Facts:
•  Hatched: April 21, 2005
•  Hospital: World Bird Sanctuary, St. Louis
•  Species: Augur Hawk (Buteo Hawk)
•  Wingspan: Approximately 4.5 ft
•  Black head and tail separated by a creme chest with a unique creme throat with black stripe.
•  Arrived in Spokane June 13, 2005.
•  Made his debut at the Seahawks in September 2006, against the Raiders.

Thousands of fans are suffering withdrawal blahs.  What to do on Sunday?

Thank god for the Winter Olympics!

0 Comments - Click here:

Post a Comment

"Comment" is for sharing information related to this article. "Anonymous" comments are not published.