Irving 3rd graders hosted Craig Hendee from the Middle East Falcon Research Group and his 5-year-old peregrine falcon, Alvin for World Falconry Day. Craig’s Science Alliance visit is part of an ongoing Mongolian Artificial Nesting project. The Irving students are partnering with a school in Mongolia to learn about their culture and conservation efforts with the endangered saker falcons. The Irving students will be communicating with their Mongolian friends throughout the project.
Here are some facts the students learned during their visit with Alvin and Craig:
- Peregrine falcons and saker falcons are related, but saker falcons are larger birds and an endangered species.
- Falcons are the fastest animals on earth, going up to 280 miles/hour in a dive!
- Alvin is employed! He and his brother Tommy partner with dogs to chase geese from wheat fields and soccer fields, where they can do a lot of damage to crops or muck up soccer cleats!
- The students at Irving’s Mongolian partner school are nomads, following the grazing patterns of their animals (horses, sheep, Bactrian camels – with 2 humps! – and yaks) during the summer and living at school during the winter.
- The Mongolian students are helping to put up special artificial nests for the endangered saker falcons to help increase their population.