Each season we produce a limited number of high quality hunting falcons through natural
reproduction and artificial insemination.
The breeding stock, carefully selected from a variety of bloodlines throughout the world,
are recognized for their performance in the field, colour, size, configuration and temperament.
At present we have bloodlines originating from Scotland, England, Wales,
Ireland, Norway, Canada, the United States, Newfoundland and Russia.
For over 20 years we have carefully selected breeding stock from a variety of the finest
bloodlines around the world.
Falcons are chosen because they possess special characteristics,
such as morphological traits or temperament, or because they have shown outstanding performance
in the field. Each season we select new falcons for imprinting or to establish naturally breeding pairs.
Female 50/50 Gyr/Saker on eggs
Female Peregrine on eggs
Standing for coupulation
ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION (AI)
Methods of AI in falcons were first developed in the 1960's and 1970's at
Cornell University in order to produce peregrines for the Peregrine Fund's
North American peregrine re-introduction program.
At Blue Falcon we have
employed some of these early techniques and combined them with my own to
create a unique AI program for producing high quality falcons.
The most popular falcons we produce using AI are gyr / peregrines.
superb hunting falcons are produced by inseminating imprint female Scottish
peregrines with semen from voluntary semen donating male gyrfalcons.
We also produce a small number of gyrfalcons, gyr / sakers and peregrines
using AI techniques.
AI is usually carried out with imprinted falcons, which reproduce voluntarily.
Imprints are selected at an early age and undergo a complete program of
training and conditioning.
Female Gyr falcon
Individual falcons are carefully selected and paired together in specially
designed skylight and seclusion aviaries. Eggs produced by naturally breeding
falcons usually have a higher percentage fertility and hatchability than
those produce by AI.
Gyrfalcons, peregrines and gyr / sakers are produced from naturally breeding
pairs. Although considered to be separate species, gyrfalcons and sakers
hybridize naturally in captivity producing fertile offspring for an indefinite
number of generations.
Indeed some ornithologists and taxonomists believe that these two species
naturally hybridize in the wild to produce gyr / sakers hybrids in the Altai
mountains known as “Altai Falcons”. Although this natural hybridization
is uncertain, it is true to say that gyrs and sakers are very closely related
and have descended from a common ancestor and, together with luggers and
lanners, form a super species known as the desert or great falcons.
Gyrfalcons and peregrines, on the other hand, are not as closely related
and hybrids between these two species are usually produced via AI techniques.
Gyr / peregrine hybrids are infertile. However, male gyr / peregrines can
produce moderate quality semen. Indeed there have been some reports of male
gyr / peregrines successfully breeding with wild female peregrines. Although
I believe that hybridization occurs naturally in the wild, and at a level
greater than originally thought, falconers and falcon breeders must act
responsibly when flying these types of hybrids and take precautions to prevent
their accidental lost, such as using telemetry.
Falcon eggs are incubated using three different methods:
1. Natural incubation with falcons,
2. Semi-natural incubation with bantams.
3. Artificial incubation in incubators.
Eggs are carefully monitored for weight loss and during hatching.
Once chicks have hatched they are hand-fed for a few days then returned to either their
natural or foster parents. Some eggs are left with the parents for the full incubation period,
hatching and rearing, whilst some chicks are selected for imprinting and reared by hand.
White and black Gyr/Peregrine chicks