【Series】Spirits of the Kamuy landscape(23) Arrivals of the gyrfalcon – the Arctic bird of prey – are rare

Despite it still being a young bird, the gyrfalcon’s pattern is beautiful

In the winter of 2016, there was one bird that I wanted to photograph – the gyrfalcon.

 That year, Hokkaido shinkansen began operating and the gyrfalcon was used as the symbol mark of the rolling stock. Hokkaido’s photographers were alerted: “If the timing is right, we’d like to run a photo in the newspaper”. The bird of prey breeds in the Arctic region and seldom flies into Hokkaido, and I had only photographed it once before.

 It was February 2014 when I encountered the young gyrfalcon on the coast of the southern Hokkaido town of Mori. Its body was brown and approximately 60 cm in length. At first, it looked like a black kite. Its wing pattern and taut tail feathers were beautiful, and its feather covered legs afforded it a dignity worthy of an Arctic bird of prey.

 Unfortunately, I have not been blessed with an opportunity to encounter a gyrfalcon since, and the hope of running a photo at the time of the opening of the shinkansen in 2016 never came to fruition. If possible, I’d like to photograph the white form of an adult bird.


Mori Town