Elvis, a male Gyr/Saker falcon born on May 13, arrived at Pace's Environmental Center in Pleasantville when he was just ten days old. The first week that master falconer James Eyring, the Environmental Center’s assistant director, cared for him, his weight doubled every two days. A mere 185 grams when he landed, Elvis now weighs 850 grams. His tremendous growth spurt was fueled by feasting on quail, cockerel chicks, and rodents. “Gross, but obviously growth food!” says Eyring. Today, he eats an entire quail once a day.
Since his first solo flight on July 10 at 9 a.m., Elvis takes to the skies every day now. As he continues testing his wings, his weight is expected to decrease to about 800 grams — that’s average fighting weight for a working falcon.
Historical Fact: The most sought after bird of prey in medieval falconry, Gyrfalcons were worth a king’s ransom and reserved to be flown only by the emperor or king.
As Eyring accedes, “Elvis is surely the king on campus this summer!”
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