An Oklahoma falconer is asking Kansans to be on the lookout for his bird that was last seen in northern Oklahoma, but last known to be north of El Dorado Reservoir.
Mark Waller, from the Tulsa area, said he was working his gyrfalcon/peregrine hybrid on pheasants when the bird suddenly headed north.
“Normally they just come back, but he didn’t,” said Waller, who started tracking the bird with telemetry equipment. “I ended up tracking most of the rest of the day. The last I knew he was north of the lake, when suddenly the signal just stopped. The signal I had on him, I figured he was within a mile but then I just got some static and it stopped.”
Waller has been flying falcons for about 40 years, and said the bird is bigger than a crow but a bit smaller than a red-tailed hawk and dark brown or black. He figures it may stay around the lake, hunting mallards as they fly out to feed in crop fields. It may end up in a town, hunting a favored prey.
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“He’s caught quite a few pigeons,” Waller said. “If he sees those, he will be all over them when he gets pretty hungry.”
Waller asks anyone who sees the bird to call him at 918-629-3350.
He added that such problems aren’t unexpected. Falcons have flown into powerlines, hit fences and been shot while hunting. In some places, bigger birds of prey may kill them, too.
“There are a lot of bad things that can happen. I’ve had some eight or ten years, and you learn to appreciate that,” Waller said. “This was a first year bird. I’d be disappointed to lose him, but it happens.”
Speaking of falconry, YOU CAN CLICK HERE, to see a little falconry, the natural way. It involves a West Point student trying to do the right thing, but it goes wrong. Well, wrong for the student and his little friend, anyway.