Greenland Gyrfalcon survives accident

The young Gyr Falcon at a building in Nuuk. Photo: Martin Kviesgaard.
The ring shows that this Gyr Falcon was brought onto the animal shelter in november 2008. Photo: Martin Kviesgaard.
Banding of the Gyr Falcon at the animal shelter, december 2008. Photo: Jens M. Rasmussen.
The young Gyr Falcon at the animal shelter. Photo: Susanne Markdal.

A Greenlandic Gyr Falcon that was found injured and unable to fly, has survived the winter in Nuuk. The young Gyr Falcon is still present in the southern part of Nuuk, where it regularly surveys the surrounding hunting grounds from the rail of the balcony. It is often accompanied by another young and more whitish Greenlandic Gyr Falcon. Photos of this bird document that this is the same bird ringed by biologist Lars Maltha Rasmussen, Greenlandic Institute of Natural Resources.

Mid November 2008 this bird was brought to the animals' home by Rene Olsen, dog warden in Nuuk. The Gyr Falcon had stock to an antenna and had been mobbed by Ravens. Susanne Markdal of the animal’s home had a veterinary examiing the bird finding that the foot was only slightly injured. On December 14th the bird was released after being fed an obtained a good condition. Before release it was ringed, and measurement proved it to be a female, being 25-30% larger than males.

The Gyr Falcon seems to have stayed in the release area. Usually even small injures can be fatal to birds of prey, that has to survive in the harsh Greenlandic winter. So it is good news, that this rare bird of prey made it so far.

Although the Gyr Falcon is breeding wide spread in Greenland, it is scarce and the total population in Greenland is estimated at 225-500 pairs in total.

Young Gyr Falcons starts breeding from the second summer, it is to expect, that the Gyr Falcons present in Nuuk are young birds, that will soon find new hunting grounds to establish as breeding territory next year. Breeding Gyr Falcons in the South Eester part of Greenland are probably already nesting here mid April.

The Gyr Falcon is fully protected, at it is not allowed to keep in captivity. When found in nature, dead falcons must be handed over to the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

Updated 10.26.2015