Birds of Prey falcon still missing |

Birds of Prey falcon still missing

The Associated Press

AIR FORCE ACADEMY” A prairie falcon named Liberty used by the Air Force Academy as part of its falconry program has been missing for nearly a month.

The bird, Liberty, was last seen during an early December performance at the Birds of Prey World Cup skiing event in Beaver Creek, said Sam Dollar, adviser to the falconry program.

Dollar said the bird may have been confused after losing sight of her cadet handlers.

“She could have spent the whole afternoon looking for us while we were looking for her,” he said.

A storm and frigid temperatures that night hampered search efforts. Dollar said he thinks the falcon either succumbed to the weather or other birds of prey.

“They would certainly prey on a bird that shows it’s out of its element,” he said.

Liberty was raised at the academy, coming to the falconry program in 2001 when she was just a few weeks old. Two years ago, she attacked a small kestrel named Woody, academy spokesman John Van Winkle said. Woody was euthanized on the advice of a veterinarian, Van Winkle said.

“She certainly retained many of her natural instincts,” he said. “You would never ever call her tame. Trained, but not tame by any stretch of the imagination.”

Other falcons have flown off but have always been recovered through a transmitter. Liberty was wearing such a device, but cadets only got a weak signal at one point.

Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism