FalconsPosted: June 7, 2009
When Nate’s soon-to-be-in-laws invited Rick and I to attend Kyle’s graduation from the Air Force Academy, the first thing I asked was about the falcons. Were they going to fly? The Thunderbird airshow would be awesome, but it was the birds I especially wanted to see fly. This photo was taken the day before graduation by Nan, Kelly’s mother. Thoughtfully, she printed this photo, along with two others, for me. Alas. Alack. I’m going to have to attend an Air Force football game in order to see the falcons perform. For one brief day, I’ll take back my vow to never attend another football game!
Here’s info on Falconry at the United States Air Force Academy: The Story of the Cadets’ Unique Performing Mascot, by A.P. Clark
At the base of the Rocky Mountains, a new military academy was being planned, and the United States Air Force Academy needed a mascot. Not just any mascot, but one that embodied the U.S. Air Force’s primary mission to fly and to fight. When the Academy’s cadets chose the falcon to be their mascot, they broke new ground in the long history of college and university mascots. The falcon was the first collegiate mascot-and a wild creature at that-to perform at sports events, free and untethered. Here is the fascinating history of this unique performing mascot, from the ancient art of falconry to the use of these magnificent birds in reaching out to the public to entertain and to educate.