The new mascot for the Air Force Academy Falcons has arrived.
The school announced via Facebook Tuesday that the newest addition to the Falcon family, a healthy female gyrfalcon. The month-old chick was hatched in May, Academy spokeswoman Maureen Welch said.
The previous mascot, Aurora, died in October after serving 23 years as the school’s living mascot.
Aurora was abducted by West Point cadets in 2018 while accompanying the team for a game against the service academy rival. When the Army cadets returned Aurora and another Air Force falcon, she had blood on her wings from abrasions likely caused by thrashing in the crate, the falconry team adviser told The New York Times.
According to the Air Force Academy, the first live mascot was a peregrine falcon named Mach 1 in October 1955. They chose the peregrine falcon because they believed it best characterized the combat role of the Air Force.
Each falcon was named by its cadet falconer, according to the Air Force Academy.
For the new mascot, however, the Cadet Wing will vote on a name at a later date, according to Air Force Academy’s Facebook page. Name suggestions can be submitted via Twitter using the hashtag #youracademy.
A few recommendations from Twitter users so far are Falcon McFalconface, Athena (after the goddess of wisdom), Blue and Soar.
The unnamed mascot has plenty of supporters, sending supportive and excited messages to the Academy via Facebook.
One fan, Mary Cast, wrote “Good looking cadet there! Already has perfected the stare-down look. Being a falcon, she’ll bring that attitude, too. She is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her fly.”