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Air Force Mascot Falcon Improving
News Bytes 11/6/2018 17 Comments

Sometimes pranks go too far. That was the case with last weekend’s kidnapping of two Air Force mascots. Army cadets snatched two falcons, including 22-year-old Aurora, just before the annual football game between the two rivals. Thankfully, Aurora—though injured—is back home and showing signs of improvement.

Aurora is the Air Force Academy’s official and oldest mascot. The school acquired Aurora 22 years ago as a gift from the school’s association of graduates. The Air Force Academy’s falconry page describes the bird as a white phase gyrfalcon, a “falcon species that is extremely rare in the wild and whose beauty will take your breath away.”

“Unless you are federally licensed, you can’t even touch them,” says Sam Dollar, Air Force’s falconry team adviser. He says cadets who work with the birds spend two months in training and undergo testing before they can handle them.

Army officials at West Point have apologized for the injuries to the falcon and promise a full investigation. “We are taking this situation very seriously, and this occurrence does not reflect the Army or USMA [U.S. Military Academy] core values of dignity and respect,” the academy says.

Dollar says two West Point cadets took the two birds, threw sweaters over them, and stuffed them into dog crates. When cadets turned the birds over Saturday, Aurora’s wings were bloody—likely from thrashing inside the crate.

“I think they had them for a couple hours, and then they realized it was a bad mistake,” Dollar says.

Somewhere along the line, those cadets had the chance to stop what they were doing. When others suggest pranks or stunts that could be hurtful, following God’s advice helps avoid a world of trouble: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” (Proverbs 1:10)

Veterinarians will continue to evaluate the falcon and administer antibiotics to prevent infection. An Air Force Academy spokesperson says the academy is “grateful for the outpouring of support and optimistic for Aurora’s recovery.”

(Aurora, a rare white gyrfalcon and Air Force Academy mascot. AP Photo)

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Most recent comments


1 coment

Why tho

What was going through the cadets heads? How did they think they could benefit from this?


well that was a stupid prank! Next time, those army cadets should probably think before they act!!!!


Why would people hurt a falcon they are an endangered species!?!?!?

****Jacksons sister, Olivia****

Probably cuz today people act before they think, which makes them want to do stupid things

How is kidnapping (or bird

How is kidnapping (or bird-napping) a prank! Those cadets should be kicked out of the school!


that's terrible

there is an extreme rivalry

there is an extreme rivalry with Air Force and Army.

that doesn't make it right

that doesn't make it right though

10th comment

glad the falcon is showing a steady comeback.

That falcon looks so regal,

That falcon looks so regal, although I like the Perigrine falcon, too.

Poor birds, especially the 22

Poor birds, especially the 22 year old. how long are birds supposed to live?!?!

Let me be honest, the first

Let me be honest, the first thing I thought when I read this was oooohhhh smack! They are going to be in trouble! But that poor bird! I am glad it’s getting better!

Did they cech the cadets? And

Did they cech the cadets? And how did they find Aurora?

Raina (Hayden's sister)

I'm glad the falcons are ok.


its really silly to do that as a prank its not funny!!! They should try something smarter and funny!!!

That's a stupid prank. I am

That's a stupid prank. I am so glad Aurora is getting better! She is one of the prettiest birds that I have ever seen!

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