Gyrfalcons, Audubon, and 2016

Happy New Year to all our followers! Let’s hope it’s a happy, healthy, and environmentally clean year ahead for everyone.

Was hunting around the Internet for the latest information on birds of prey and came across a fantastic article on gyrfalcons on the audubon.org website. Well worth a read for anyone interested in birds of prey. An amusing and insightful article, it gives you an idea of the extent to which some researchers must go, physically and geographically, to obtain results. The gyrfalcon is one of the top predators in the food chain in various parts of the world, distant cousin to the peregrine falcon, and in the middle ages ownership was confined strictly to the upper echelons of society i.e. kings and nobles. It’s also the official bird for Canada’s Northwest Territories. Sadly, as with many precious bird species, humans are the leading cause of death in gyrfalcons, directly and indirectly.

Glad the ‘Concrete Hilton’ on campus is a little easier to access than some of these exposed and spectacular rock ledges, even though the 50 metre climb up inside the leg of the water tower is never one to be taken lightly.

Gyrfalcons, Seaward Peninsula, Alaska
Gyrfalcon nestlings, Seaward Peninsula, Alaska (Audubon.org)

3 thoughts

  1. Fab article – thanks, Scott. It was great to see the photo of the chick in relation to a person, to get a good sense of the size of the birds. I didn’t realise just how big they were, and had the same “wow” reaction as Claire.

  2. Yes, we do have it easy here in terms of access (another reason why banding permission should be easier, but, alas, that is not the case). Interesting about the ‘shrubification’ through willows etc taking over the tundra (climate change, perhaps).

    And I’d like to talk to the researcher about his method for analysing so many thousands of stills!

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