Our Birds

The Falcons

A 2007 male Lanner/Saker hybrid is named after a famous North American falconer and author Hal Webster. One of our all-stars here at the center, he is a real ham during flight demonstrations and is good at wowing the crowds. He comes right out of the sun at speeds upwards of 100 mph and excels in vertical drops, or stoops. Webster also works at abatement. Hybridization is done in captivity to help fend off disease or to acquire desired attributes for hunting and flying.

Lanner and Saker are both Eastern Hemisphere species of falcon.
Image: Rob Palmer

A 2007 male Lanner/Saker hybrid is named after a famous North American falconer Frank Beebe. Like his brother Webster, Beebe is also an all-star reaching speeds over 100mph in a downward stoop. Hybridization is done in captivity to help fend off disease or to acquire desired attributes for hunting and flying.

Lanner and Saker are both Eastern Hemisphere species of falcon.
Image: XSight Photography

Islay (pronounced eye-la) is a 2015 female Lanner Falcon and is named after the island of Islay, Scotland. Her parents were from Africa which makes her a 1st generation Lanner falcon in North America. Being the only female falcon at our center, she loves to hit the glove like a softball which makes for a fun game of catch with our guests. She also puts on quite a show when delivering wedding rings.
Image: David Swanson Photography

A 2016 male Lanner Falcon
Image: Hilary Kaseman

A 2014 male Saker, “saker” means falcon in Arabic. Sakers breed from eastern Europe eastwards across Asia to Manchuria. It is mainly migratory except in the southernmost parts of its range, wintering in Ethiopia, the Arabian peninsula, northern Pakistan and western China. The Saker is the national bird of Hungary and, in 2012, was selected as the national bird of Mongolia.
Image: Hilary Kaseman

We received Sladkiy, a male Aplomado falcon as a product from a breeding project through the Peregrine Fund in 2020. His parents were a part of the breeding project and were released back to the wild. We’ve had him since he was 9 days old and he’s become quite a staple at our center. Because he’s an imprinted falcon, he loves to talk to us at all hours of the day.

Apolomado falcons are a desert southwest bird found in parts of New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and into South America.

The Hawks

Mariposa – is a 2003 Female Harris Hawk and she came to us in ’09 after hunting with a falconer since’ 03.  Mariposa is an accomplished hunter and is a solid education bird, often the main flyer at events.  She loves a crowd.  She likes to tease the dogs and her favorite color is red!

Sonoran Harris hawks are found in the desert southwest of the United States.

Don Diego – His full name is Don Diego Alejandro Santiago Saragossa Inigo Montoya Del Gato.  Ole!  You may call him ‘Diego’ or ‘Don Diego.’ One of our veterans on the team, he is a 2005 Sonoran Harris’ hawk and has been doing education events since he was 24 weeks old.  He lives up to his lustrous name as a notorious flirt to the ladies.  He was also invited to a Dos Equis event and was named ‘The Most Interesting Hawk’.  If we go hunting near a school he will leave the hunt to go visit the kids.

Sonoran Harris hawks are found in the desert southwest of the United States.

Phineas – is a 2010 Male Sonoran Harris Hawk. He is named after Phineas Banning, who is known as the Father of the Port of Los Angeles and was one of the first owners of Catalina Island. He is currently in a breeding project down in Paso Robles.

Sonoran Harris hawks are found in the desert southwest of the United States.

Avalon – is a 2010 Female Sonoran Harris Hawk she is named after the city of Avalon on Catalina Island. Sonoran Harris hawks are found in the desert southwest of the United States.

Havek is a 2021 male Harris Hawk that is the newest addition to our team. His name comes from the word “Havok” which means hawk and chaos in Dutch, similar to the term “to wreak havok.” He was found as a juvenile in someone’s backyard trying to eat their guinea pigs (unsuccessfully). Harris’s hawks are very popular in falconry so we trapped him and tried to locate where he came from with no avail. He has become an educational bird here at our center and is making leaps and bounds with his training.

Teeka – From the Navajo ‘Ahteeka’, which means Sun Maiden. Teeka is a 2011 Female Peruvian Harris hawk, smaller and rather shy when compared to the Sonoran Harris hawks. Teeka came to us when she was returned to breeder because she didn’t act like a Sonoran Harris hawk.  Several years of patient training, especially by Jana, has paid off in spades and Teeka is now a great teacher in our educational programs.  She loves to fly and is considered one of our acrobats, always showing off her flying skills to the crowds.  Like a young teenager you will easily find her as the chatty hawk in the group.

Peruvian Harris hawks are found further south on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Piper – Piper is a male 2012 Swainson’s Hawk. This is not a species used in falconry and the Swainson’s Hawk has been a threatened species for many years. Piper was found and imprinted by a rehab facility. He cannot be released to the wild because he was hand raised and imprinted on people.  He is an amazing ambassador for this seldom seen species of hawk and often goes with us to school and education events.  He teaches about habitat loss and other factors that threaten his species.  Swainson’s hawks have one of the longest migratory paths of any hawk species in North America.  The Great Basin population travels every year to the southern tip of Argentina.  Swainson’s hawks are threatened due to secondary poisoning from pesticides and habitat loss in California.

Cora – Cora is a 2014 Female, dark morph, Red tailed hawk.  Cora was a falconry bird for her first year and successfully hunted.  Unfortunately she contracted a disease called avian pox.  The pox infected her right eye and is now blind in that eye.  She is a gorgeous addition to the falconry center and we are working with her for flight demonstrations and possible events.  Red tailed hawks are found throughout the United States and are the most widespread of all the North American hawk species.

Image: Swanson Photography

The Owls

Cailleach (pronounced Kay-leesh) –  A 2005 Eurasian Eagle owl, her name means ‘Wise Woman’ or ‘Crone’ in Gaelic. Eurasian Eagle owls are the largest species of owl in the world. Her wing span is near six feet! She is considered an average size for this species weighing in at 6 lbs. Cailleach is our only non-native owl at the center and is a fan favorite at educational events. She is afraid of little wheels and umbrellas.

Eurasian Eagle owls are found through the central Eastern Hemisphere from Denmark to Manchuria.

Amadan – Her whole name is Amadan Ban Bheag, which is Gaelic for ‘Little White Fool’. Amadan hatched on April 1st of 2013. She is a captive bred Barn owl and is a wonderful education ambassador.   She helps us to teach about rodent poison and its impact on wild raptor populations.  Barn owls are found throughout the United States and in many areas around the world.

Tigg’rr Is a male 2015 Great Horned Owl, and is one of Kate Marden’s personal Falconry bird. He can be seen here at the center in his chamber. Great Horned Owls are also know as the “tiger owl” and are native to the Americas.

Hamish

Wee Hamish  – A 2017 Eastern Screech Owl, gray morph. He is a captive bred owl and hatched on April 29th, 2017. Hamish is a heart throb for anyone and everyone that comes to the center and is a great addition to bird-day parties and school events.

The eastern screech owls are found east of the Rockies in woods, suburbs, and parks. To many surprise, they do not actually screech! These supremely camouflaged birds hide out in nooks and tree crannies through out the day, so train your ears and listen for their whinny calls at night.

In Memoriam

Zephyr – Zephyr was a 30+ year old Finnish Goshawk. She came to WCF in 2012 after a full falconry career and spending ten years in a breeding project. Zephyr’s story is important because she was one of the first Finnish Goshawks imported to the United States for breeding purposes. Finnish goshawks were not a protected species until 1989. She passed away on October 1st, 2018.

Owlsley Owlyisius Owlgernon Whooligan III was a fun and unique 2014 Spectacled Owl. He passed away in May of 2016 from a blood parasite via mosquitos.  Unfortunately there was no way for us to screen or prevent this blood parasite.

Spectacled Owls are tropical owls that are native to Central and South America and predominately live in rain forests, however, they often venture into other habitats as well.

Enkidu was a 2014 male Aplomado Falcon. Named for the wild-man in the ancient Assyrian tale the Epic of Gilgamesh which first mentions Falconry in human history.  Enkidu was our loudest of the bunch with his constant baby bird chirping, but his high energy spirit and sweet demeanor had earned him a place in our hearts. We will miss him dearly.

The Aplomado is a desert south-west falcon that was native from southern Arizona and Texas all the way into South America. They are the only falcon still endangered in North America. Sadly, atomic testing (way back when) in White Sands NM, the decimation of Prairie Dog environment  (it’s a long story), the continued overgrazing of cattle and rampant development have left little natural habitat for these birds in the U.S.

Image: Brent Martin MyPhotographyAdventure.com

Zopilote Cathartes was a 2013 Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture. Sweet and silly, he always brought a smile to our faces. In April of 2021 a staff member took Zopi out to exercise and he flew off. We have been unable to locate him but he will never be forgotten. Lesser Yellow-headed vultures are found in the savannas of South America.  Vultures are not used for falconry but do play an important role in our ecosystems world wide.  Vultures are on the decline throughout the world due to may factors, including lead poisoning and pharmaceuticals used on cattle.