|This picture is of my fine Swedish male goshawk, he was the first goshawk I ever handled and it was a very sharp learning curve for me.
In retrospect I was “way out of my depth”, I had trained an eyas European Kestrel and then moved up to a passage gos. It was 1967 and that was the natural progression if you wanted a hunting hawk.
Otto looks quite calm and well manned in this photograph but he was prone to violent batting fits that went on for quite some time. It was some five months after he came to me that during one of these bating sessions he passed away.
Shocked at his sudden demise I sent his carcass to a young John Cooper MVRVS who wanted hawks to assist his study. He eventually sent me a report which concluded that Otto had died from some for of meningitis.
I had never heard of this in hawks and never have since, maybe it was his best description for what he had found. Veterinary knowledge in raptors was in its infancy in those days and Mr.Cooper was at the cutting edge.
To this day I remember Otto with sadness and feel that I failed him due to my inexperience.