White Falcon, White Wolf
Video: Mother Gyrfalcon on the Hunt

The father gyrfalcon hasn’t brought home enough food, and the mother is getting worried. At this time last year, the pair’s chicks died of starvation. Taking matters into her own talons, the mother falcon decides to leave the cliffs and go on the hunt.

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  • M. Slade

    Falcons are cool and the gryfalcon is the coolest. How come no one has made a superhero out of one?

  • Neil Sonnier

    Are you kidding me? You are claiming a deadbeat father is to blame for the downfall of the family? What a load of garbage. Beautiful film but ridiculous story line. These aren’t human, they are birds driven by instinct, stop the propaganda .

  • David Couto

    I simply loved this documentry! They did such an amazing job capturing all the naimals! Ten thumbs up!

  • IE Ries

    “These aren’t human, they are birds driven by instinct, stop the propaganda.”

    When a non-human displays a behaviour, it’s “instinct.” When a human does the exact same thing, it’s “sentience, free-will, human intelligence”…blah blah blah.

    Why do you find it so difficult to see that the parallels exist? An inexperienced and ill-prepared father will adversely affect outcomes for his offspring, be it a Homo sapien or Falco rusticolus.

  • Kent Simm

    “These aren’t human, they are birds driven by instinct, stop the propaganda.”

    We humans think to highly of our selves. Has 1 human learned to communicate with another species in THEIR language? NO the animal learns to interpret some form(sign,verbal,hand signals) of ours. Who is the smarter?

  • Aiman

    indeed we can control our instincts better than animals. but i don’t think the storyline is ridiculous in any way, animals don’t have favourable circumstances as humans do. and the father isnt deadbeat, he’s just unlucky in finding food.

  • wes

    this helps with my report

  • Co

    i’v been waiting for
    white falcon white wolf to come out.

  • zelda

    The gyr falcon is the coolest bird not to menchion fastest in the WORLD!

  • turky ibraheem

    Hello you how you are I am a Turkish Asaudihuargb in dealing with you in the purchase of birds from reputable Crkim
    I want to inform me how to deal b Did you get my birds to or not, as long as you respect and Thkadir

  • Co

    i agree with aiman

  • Wolf Tracker

    “We humans think to highly of our selves”

    By the way it’s “too” and “ourselves”. Careful, people may question your ability to make an intelligent rebuttal.

  • Peregrine

    The comparison is propaganda and indicates the lack of imaginasion by the film maker. Both sexes of Gyrs normally hunt for food. Perigrines were seen and estimated at about 120mph dives in Massachusetts back in the fifties and I would guess Grins are the faster of the two.

  • Tate

    Unfortunately the anthropomorphism deminishes the wonderful footage of this film. Do the produces truly believe we would not watch a beautiful film such as this without this?

  • Joyce Leppard

    Beautiful photography but the anthropomorphizing was way over the top. Also, continuing and annoying error! The bird referred to several times as a ‘Long-tailed Skua’ is a ‘Long-tailed Jeager’. Are we to believe your other ‘facts’? Please get a competent ornithology advisor.

  • Eagle

    Excellent show, one of your best!!

  • S.R.

    Neil, dead beat fathers most certainly contribute to the cause of broken families……in humans AND birds. Uptight much ?
    Nice narration, great film.

  • RY

    Anthropomorphic claptrap but great photography – watch it with the sound off!

    However, unfortunately much of the public need to have the enticing,peter rabbit-like storyline, to understand and appreciate, even superficially.

    @Joyce BTW Long-tailed Skua is an alternative name for Long-tailed Jaeger, or vice versa depending on where you live, please check YOUR facts before posting ;)

  • Jolene Torgler

    On my tombstone I want an engraving of a gyrfalcon!!!!

  • David A. Clark

    PBS continues to provide quality programming. Nature and Nova are always a pleasure to watch. David in WASILLA, AK

  • Mary Anne O’Sullivan

    I also got such a kick out of watching that rabbit jumping around. Like he was either playing or showing off to the girl rabbit. Maybe both. Anyway just beautiful photography on the entire film. Such a starkly wild and beautiful landscape.

    Ellensburg, WA

  • GeorgeBrameJr

    I enjoyed watching the show but I have to agree with Neil Sonnier.

    Neil Sonnier says:
    October 26, 2008 at 9:03 pm
    Are you kidding me? You are claiming a deadbeat father is to blame for the downfall of the family? What a load of garbage. Beautiful film but ridiculous story line. These aren’t human, they are birds driven by instinct, stop the propaganda .

  • Steve_alaska

    As a falconer I have flow Gyrs and they are fast. They eat perigrines as they are fast enough to catch them. Gyrs on the other hand are eaten by Golden Eagles..quit the food chain. The thought that a male gyr can be classified as a dead beat dad is pretty poor on the part of the producers of this program. How about looking at the mortality rates of 80-90 % for first year raptors for multiple reasons mainly food supply. Some birds are just too stupid and completely fall apart when they feel the stress of no food and do not learn to hunt before itmis too late, how about looking at how God gives the immature birds longer feathersnin there immature year so they have a arial advantage to help them. ( oh that right thismis the communists and there is no God) Lots of options that could have been looked at and studies that have been performed on many issues but instead they humanize the bird and do not do it justice. Great photography but really poorly put together with the same old humanistic crap.

  • John Reynolds

    This issue goes far beyond “anthropomorphizing” and masks how insdious male gender bashing has become and an accepted piece of our social fabric. Not to long ago females rose up to decry how they were depicted on televison, in media advertising and how damaging it was. The personification of animals to denigrate males in order to increase market share in a certain demographic is shameful. The depiction of males as inept, inadequate and laughable has become endemic. Our sons, and daughters, will suffer. For those interested in anthropomorphy and biomimicry read, The Decline of Males, Lionel Tiger.
    Cultural Anthropolgist, Lionel Tiger (born 1937) is a Canadian-born, American-based anthropologist. He is the Charles Darwin Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University and co-Research Director of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He is a graduate of McGill University, and the London School of Economics at the University of London, England. He is also a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense on the future of biotechnology.

    Some of Tiger’s works have included controversial concepts, including the biological origins of social interactions. Tiger published a work, The Imperial Animal, with Robin Fox in 1972, that advocated a ’social carnivore theory’ of human evolution.[1]

    Tiger has predicted the higher status of women within society, in books such as The Decline of Males and Men in Groups. He has also written books such as The Pursuit of Pleasure, which discussed the concept that evolution has established the biological mechanisms of pleasure and that they have survival origins.

  • Vivian Mendenhall, Ph.D.

    Fabulously beautiful video; I was thrilled at the closeups of birds and mammals, plus the tundra and scenery of Ellesmere Island. I’ve done professional biology in the Arctic for years (and I live in Alaska); but I’ve always wondered what Ellesmere looks like, after seeing it from an airliner years ago!

    However– the narration is not worthy of a “Nature” program Too much of it consists of childish little stories that have nothing to do with real animal behavior; and they skipped some fascinating ecology.

    Example 1: Falcon mothers do not agonize over their mates’ behavior and then make tough decisions! The females ALWAYS start hunting instinctively when the chicks are about 3 weeks old. That’s because (a) the growing chicks need more food, and (b) the chicks no longer need the mother’s warmth continuously. The pair’s failure to raise chicks the previous year was most likely due to lack of prey, which always varies between years.

    Example 2: The prey for owls and foxes was obviously great that summer, which is why they raised so many babies. Lemmings were super-abundant, which happens about every 4 years in the Arctic. It was wonderful to see the animals in a year like that; in a “low” year for lemmings, the fox cubs would have starved, and the owls might not have nested at all. But I only recognized the situation because I’m a professional. Your “average” viewers deserved an explanation of that simple ecological fact, too!

  • NoBama

    Vivian, it’s time to climb down off your high horse you rode in on. PhD. this. Big deal.

  • John Reynolds

    Interesting how Mendenhall’s, but no other, repsonse is hyperlinked to the PBS web page. They are only, “childish little stories” if you are not the targeted group. Couching that little two liner amidst the intellectual camouflage is classic female bird diversion. No surprise there.

    Lets try this as a narrative story line, “Old, worn out male falcon gets tired of doing the all of the heavy lifting and forces wife to leave the nest and get a job:-)

    Video: Mother Gyrfalcon on the Hunt – White Falcon, White …
    … that they have survival origins. Vivian Mendenhall, Ph.D. says: January
    23, 2011 at 7:26 pm. Fabulously beautiful video; I …

  • John Reynolds

    Dr. Mendenhall: They are only, “childish little stories” if you are not a member of the targeted group. Your two lines above, “nestled” amidst intellectual camoflouge suggest a very protective relationship with PBS. Indeed, diversion is a very commmon diversionary tactic among female birds.

    Lets try this for a narrative story line, “Male gyrfalcon gets tired of doing all the heavy lfiting and forces wife out of the nest to get a job.”

    Nice try.

  • eddie

    I liked this but i swear i’ve seen this before it is not new. Especially the wolf part. Is this a remake?

  • Connie Riester

    I love looking at the pictures and reading about the different animals. I don’t care about the who, what, how, or why they behave as they do compared to human, and I really don’t care. Animal parents of all kind have their own personal traits, who’s to say a male animal can’t be a deadbeat dad or a female can’t be a poor mother. These traits come in all kinds of “animals”.

  • John Reynolds

    Exactly my point.

  • Karanbir

    mother gryfalcon on hunt bravo

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