The Gyrfalcon: A True Flight of Fancy

April 27, 2018

Strong is the torch that’s carried for all things royal. From fan favorites like Game of Thrones and The Crown to the highly anticipated, real-life nuptials of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry of Wales, our fascination with royalty endures. It should be no surprise, then, that the bird chosen to represent Green Chimneys’ 26th Annual Birds of Prey Day is a symbol of winged nobility: the gyrfalcon.

Crowned the best for falconry in medieval times, gyrfalcons were reserved for kings. As the largest falcon in the world, with exquisite plumage ranging from bright white to deep charcoal, gyrs are revered for their powerful skill of flight. Their long wings make hunting waterfowl from 3,000-feet-high a feasible and fantastical feat.

While most gyrs live in arctic climates found in the most northern regions of North America, Europe and Asia, two permanently injured gyrs reside at Green Chimneys’ Farm & Wildlife Center. They, along with nearly 50 other unreleasable birds, are under the care of expert wildlife staff.

Green Chimneys Birds of Prey Day

This gyrfalcon’s advanced age would prevent him from being able to survive in the wild. He is one of two unreleaseable gyrs that will live out the remainder of their days under the care of Green Chimneys students and staff.

The students of Green Chimneys School have some special needs of their own and through the rehabilitation and care of these animals they learn compassion, encouragement, and the true meaning of stewardship. “Helping children connect with nature is at the core of our 70-year history,” explains Executive Director Dr. Edward Placke.

“And there’s no better celebration than Birds of Prey Day. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to learn about wildlife firsthand, with help from incredible animal experts. And it’s a day of enormous pride for our students to share how they are learning and growing, too.”

Join the flock:
Attend Birds of Prey Day on Sunday, June 3!

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