EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — Aurora, a falcon who served as the official mascot of the U.S. Air Force Academy, died Wednesday. She was 23 years old.
The Air Force Academy says Aurora lived to be roughly twice the age of most falcons in the wild.
Aurora was a white phase gyrfalcon. According to the academy, only three percent of all falcons are gryfalcons.
Aurora was not one of the falcons that flies over crowds at Falcon Stadium during cadet parades. However, she did make frequent public appearances.
“Our hearts go out to our master-and cadet-falconers, who lovingly cared for and trained Aurora for more than two decades,” said Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, Air Force Academy superintendent, in a press release. “Emblematic of the beauty and majesty of our Falcons, Aurora will be greatly missed by generations of cadets, graduates, faculty members, and so many others.”
Aurora was gifted to the academy by its Association of Graduates in 2000.
Cadet 1st Class James Barney, one of the Academy’s 12 falconers, said Aurora will go down in history.
“She was feisty and she had a long and healthy life,” said Barney.