GyrfalconMeet our female Gyrfalcon. She currently resides at our Observation Building in our Raptor trail. She has been with the Wildlife Sanctuary for 4 years after being transferred from a rehab facility in Northern Wisconsin. She has full flight capabilities, but unfortunately is missing her left eye. The missing eye is actually due to a birth defect in which she was born without it. Since she’s had the defect from the start, she has adjusted well to life without it. However, she is unable to be released due to having poor depth perception, and would not be able to successfully hunt and capture prey. You will occasionally see her try to fly, but generally is circular in pattern, as well as only short distances. She is full of personality, and certainly isn’t shy around dinner time.
Gyrfalcons, as their name suggests, are part of the Falcon family. The Gyrfalcon is the largest falcon in the world, and spends most of its time in the far northern parts of the Earth, some even above the Arctic Circle. They do periodically migrate south towards the northern Great Lakes, offering birders a view of a lifetime. They often feed on larger birds such as waterfowl or doves, taking their prey midflight like other falcons. They typically nest on old nests from other birds, with the female doing most of the incubation while the male hunts and brings food to the nest. They can have as many as 4-5 young hatch, with first flight occurring about a month and a half after hatching. Their population here in North America is fairly stable, while it is declining in other parts of the world.
Stop on out and visit this magnificent bird, as well as others who call the Wildlife Sanctuary home.