Thursday, September 24, 2009

Photo Tag: Gyrfalcon

Once again, a few days' downtime on this blog and I feel that I have been remiss. Being away in New Brunswick for a week means I fell behind in my classes, so I have been trying to catch up with all 6 of them while working and studying for the GRE and - well, mostly doing none of the above and sneaking off and making jewelry instead. And watching Glee, my new distraction. Unfortunately with all those classes and obligations I get home way too late to do any photography, so this weekend I am looking forward to taking advantage of the daylight to get some of my new pieces up in my shop.

A quick blog post though, to tide me over until I can post my process of making smoked salmon eggs benedict from the weekend. I was tagged by the very cool Lost Earring in a game of photo tag. The rules are:

1. Open your first photo folder.
2. Scroll to the 10th photo.
3. Post the photo on your blog and tell the story behind it.
4. Tag people to do the same.

I think I may have cheated since my first photo folder only had 5 pictures in it - so I went to the second folder from my summer job at a university out west.

The majority of my work involved researching the pattern of inheritance of plumage colouration in gyrfalcons. Depending on who you talk to, there are between two and seven colour morphs in this species varying from pure white to black. But the mechanism of inheritance turned out to be kind of quirky, with black chicks being hatched to white parents and white chicks being hatched to black parents. We had some breeding records from a local falconer who had been breeding these beautiful birds since the early 1980s. We went to visit him a couple of times, and he gave us a tour of his facility and some of the chicks that had recently hatched. The chick above was a few weeks old, and the falconer had her out to handfeed her so the bird would begin to associate the falconer with food, so she could eventually be flown free and would return to the glove. He also had a leather hood out (not pictured) that he would place over her head periodically so she would get used to it from an early age.

He also showed us some very very young chicks, only a few days old. This guy was tuckered out after a big meal:

You can also see here the difference between white chicks and dark chicks:

And here were some of the parents, part of his breeding stock. These birds would probably be called silver, with the dark patterning on their wings but a light belly.

And that was my summer job! What was the best job you ever had?

Let's keep the game going... I'm tagging the following 5 bloggers, but feel free to pick up the game for yourself and start tagging others!

Inki Handmade
Ben McFuzzylugs
April Ink


  1. I'm so far behind in my classes it ain't even funny.

    OMG, I love reading about your work! I love those pictures, too! Such cute fuzzy baby raptors ;-)

  2. Awesome! Thanks for participating :)

  3. Thanks for tagging me!
    Wow, those birds are amazing! I love the little sleepy guy!



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