Photo of the Day: Birds of a Feather
I live near the US Air Force Academy, and they frequently do some pretty awesome stuff for the public. Last weekend a few of the cadets brought their mascot birds out to my local library for a demonstration. One bird [pictured above] was a peregrine falcon, which—as Penelope Riffert would tell you!—is the fastest bird in the world. The other bird was a gyrfalcon.
The gyrfalcon [pictured above and below] is not only the largest falcon, but it also happens to be the type of bird featured in my Arthur Grey series! Gamble’s falcon Gatriona is a gyrfalcon. Not only that, but I learned a new fact: only about 1% of gyrfalcons have this particular coloring. So it was even more crazy cool that the Air Force Academy’s official mascot bird looks so much like Gatriona!
Other cool facts about gyrfalcons:
* They are native to the North Pole region.
* Gyrfalcons live up to 10 or 12 years in the wild, and up to 22 years in captivity.
* The USAFA’s falcon, Aurora, was 18 years old when I met her.
* They are hunters and normally catch prey like ducks and geese but will also hunt small mammals.
* Gyrfalcons may not be the fastest bird, but they are strong fliers and can pursue their prey over long distances.