Captive Gyr

The largest falcon, Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus).* Birds of the tundra and elsewhere northwards. Occasionally they drift down into the U.S.I’ve never seen one in the wild in North America. I have seen a dark morph in Iceland. (They come dramatically white like this, gray, and dark.)This one is all jessed up and has no place to go. Jesses are a term of falconry, referring to the leather bondage ties around the feet. There was a bewitted bell as well.So unbelievably fast. Stooped right over people’s heads, too, in dives at the lure. I thought a few hats might have been taken off…

*Sibley has them weighing almost twice as much as Peregrines.

Wild birds are broken, or tamed if you dare, by starving. Captive raptors hunt, or, in this case, perform, precisely because they’re hungry; the lure is baited with food.

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