Gyrfalcon by Bill Prickett
Height 24.5ins ( 622mm )
Base Length 12ins ( 305mm )
Base Width 9.5ins ( 242mm )
A Wood Carving of a Gyrfalcon by Bill Prickett.
In Lime Wood on a polished stainless Steel and Glass Fibre Base.
Bill has put a lot of detail in to the plumage and texture of the bird. As always his attention to detail is fantastic..
Please ask me to quote for shipping
The gyrfalcon has long associated with humans, primarily for hunting and in the art of falconry. It is the official bird of Canada’s Northwest Territories. The white falcon in the crest of the Icelandic Republic‘s coat of arms is a variety of gyrfalcon. The white phase gyrfalcon is the official mascot of the United States Air Force Academy.
In the medieval era, the gyrfalcon was considered a royal bird. The geographer and historian Ibn Sa’id al-Maghribi (d. 1286) described certain northern Atlantic islands west of Ireland where these falcons would be brought from, and how the Egyptian Sultan paid 1,000 dinars for each gyrfalcon (or, if it arrived dead, 500 dinars). Due to its rarity and the difficulties involved in obtaining it, in European falconry the gyrfalcon was reserved for kings and nobles; very rarely did you see a man of lesser rank seen with a gyrfalcon on his fist.
In the 12th century AD China, swan-hunting with gyrfalcons (海东青 hǎidōngqīng in Chinese) obtained from the Jurchentribes became fashionable among the Khitan nobility. The Liao Emperorimposed a tax payment-in-kind of gyrfalcons on the Jurchen; under the last Liao emperor, tax collectors were entitled to use force to procure sufficient gyrfalcons.
Most historians agree that the coat of arms of Ukraine, the medieval symbol, was not intended to depict a trident, but most likely a stylized falcon. Depictions of a flying falcon with a cross above its head have been found in Old Ladoga, the first seat of Kievan Rurik dynasty, of Scandinavian lineage. The falcon along with a cross is also featured on the coins of the Viking King Olaf Guthfrithsson.
For centuries falconry has been a royal sport in Europe. Also known also as the Norwegian falcon, it was considered a royal bird and is mentioned (uk: кречет) in one of the earliest epics of Ruthenia, the 12th century poem The Tale of Igor’s Campaign.
Gyrfalcons are expensive to buy, and some owners and breeders keep them secret to avoid theft. They can and often do fly long distances, and falconers may fit a radio-tracker to aid recovery. Wild gyrfalcons are not much exposed to disease, and as a result have immune systems that are naive to many avian pathogens found around human environments. Many gyrfalcons taken from the wild quickly die of disease.
Falcons are known to be very susceptible to avian influenza. Therefore, an experiment was done with hybrid gyr-saker falcons, which found that five falcons vaccinated with a commercial H5N2 influenza vaccine survived infection with a highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, whereas five unvaccinated falcons died.