Air Force’s live mascot, a 22-year-old white gyrfalcon, suffered potentially life-threatening injuries due to a prank leading up to the Falcons’ rivalry matchup against Army this week.
The gyrfalcon, Aurora, was reportedly taken from a colonel’s home as part of a prank by West Point cadets, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. While the bird was being kept by the Army cadets, Aurora apparently injured a wing.
An Air Force official told the Colorado Springs Gazette that Aurora may need to be euthanized due to the injury. But a spokesperson told ESPN Sunday afternoon that Aurora was able to fly around in her cage. And that was “an extremely good sign.”
The bird is currently being flown back to Air Force on the team’s charter flight following its 17-14 loss at Army.
“Not sure of the extent, but we are getting it back to [Colorado Springs] where a specialist is to have it examined,” Air Force associate athletic director Troy Garnhart told the Colorado Springs Gazette on Saturday. “Our understanding is that it was taken from a residence.”
According to the Teton Raptor Center, gyrfalcons can live up to 25 years in captivity.
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