I am reading the wonderful new monograph The Gyrfalcon . On page 229 I came upon a passage which may say more about the Scandinavian mind than falcons, and I found it both funny and disturbing. I am curious what readers might say– I think (Russian) author Eugene Potapov, who is both an ornithologist and a falconer, found the incident as odd as I do.
I quote, but without all the references (italics mine):
“There was panic in Sweden in 1999 when an escaped male Gyrfalcon x Peregrine falcon hybrid from Denmark paired with a native Peregrine female in Bohuslan, the male identified by its leg ring. The pairing made the headlines of Swedish newspapers. Falconry is, in general, prohibited in Finland, Sweden, and Norway, and so the public reaction to this event was negative because of the potential for genetic pollution of the native species. The case was termed the “birds of prey scandal” by the Swedish Ornitholoigical Society. Officials from Naturvardsverket (the Swedish Ministry of the Environment) killed the chicks produced by the pair and shot the hybrid. They also wanted to kill the female as her willingness to mate with a non- pure bird caused a concern that should another escape happen the bird might be equally willing a second time. However the female escaped and remained at large”.
Isn’t this rather… creepy? I mean, even apart from the fact that the descendants of Vikings have turned into a bunch of handkerchief- wringing wussies, the Nazi- like assumptions inherent here are disturbing. I should add that Potapov was not worried.
You may also be relieved that, in Potapov’s next section, Norwegian authorities did NOT kill a lesbian cross- species Gyr- Peregrine pair that they found brooding their infertile eggs in a seabird colony there. I never knew that birds of prey had such interesting love lives.