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Gyrfalcons and humans have shared a remarkable relationship since prehistoric times. These extraordinary arctic falcons have been revered, coveted as an item of commerce, persecuted, and enjoyed as a spectacle of sport for at least ten thousand years. Today, climate change has brought new challenges, with habitat in the far north changing rapidly as natural cycles begin to break down.
Drawn from over thirty years of study and observation, this in-depth study provides a comprehensive view of the gyrfalcon's place in the arctic ecosystem, including their inextricable link to their primary pray, the ptarmigan, and their antagonistic relationship with golden eagles. It explores the connection the bird has had with humanity in both legend and practice, and the challenges it faces as its habitat continues to change. This definitive look at the gyrfalcon shows us both sides of the majestic bird: the master of its domain and a threatened species facing an uncertain future.
Norman Barichello is a northern ecologist. His knowledge is derived from over 44 years in Canada’s arctic and subarctic, as a biologist, naturalist guide and advisor to the Kaska Dena. His passion for gyrfalcons took hold during his academic studies at the University of British Columbia when he explored the relationship between gyrfalcons and ptarmigan in the Ogilvie Mountains, and has flourished over the last 35 years observing gyrfalcons in the Mackenzie Mountains. Norman currently lives in Whitehorse, and continues to spend his summers in the Mackenzie Mountains watching gyrfalcons.