“Adopt” Merrit the Falcon
Raptors like Merrit have been used in the sport of falconry for thousands of years. It is not uncommon for falconers to hybridize two falcons in the hopes that the offspring will exhibit the optimal traits of both species. This is exactly the reason Merrit was hatched: a falconer bred the fastest falcon in the world (Peregrine falcon) with the largest falcon(Gyrfalcon), hoping the offspring would be large and fast. Since Merrit was hatched for falconry or education purposes, she is what we call an “intentional imprint.” In other words, Merrit was purposely raised by humans so she wouldn’t be scared of them and would associate them with food. Since she is a mixture of two geographically distinct falcon species, she could never be released to live in the wild. She has been with Callaway Gardens since 2005.
During a flighted show at Callaway Gardens in January 2009, Merrit was scared off by a pair of wild Red-tailed hawks. She was found thirteen days later in Birmingham, Alabama, over 100 miles away! She had sustained a broken wing, and was so emaciated and weak that she was easily captured on the ground. After being rehabilitated at Oak Mountain Wildlife Center, she was returned home to Callaway Gardens.
By adopting Merrit, you are are helping feed, house, and provide medical care for these resident raptors. An adoption can be made in honor of a person, or event, or in memory of someone. See our adoption levels below: