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Deceased: possible falcon depredation, Spring 2018

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Valkyrie and her mate, Thor, got their names from Middleton High School Students, after the biology classes held a naming contest. The names Thor and Valkyrie were chosen since the Middleton High School mascot is the Viking. In Norse mythology Valkyrie is an angel.

Valkyrie had one of the longest bills in our SW Idaho curlew population!

Valkyrie the curlew
Meet Valkyrie, named by Middleton High School students after an angel of Norse mythology. Photo by Heidi Ware Carlisle

Like a front page tabloid story, our famous curlew couple Valkyrie and her mate, Thor, went through a shocking “curlew break-up” in 2017 and they never met up to mate on the ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern) . Typically, Long-billed curlews mate for life until one of the mates dies, so this was a new piece to the curlew puzzle!  We caught up with Thor by the end of the 2017 breeding season and saw him walking with a new “girlfriend”.

We never did catch up with Valkyrie on the ACEC, but did see on the satellite tracking map that she migrated on time towards the Central Valley of California.

Unfortunately, Valkyrie was killed by what we assume to be a predator on the wintering grounds in the beginning of 2018. When her dot stopped moving on the tracking map we asked our colleagues at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for help recovering the transmitter. Biologists headed out to locate the transmitter with specialized tracking equipment and found her transmitter lying in a field on the Carrizo Plain in California with nothing left of her except a few feathers. Aerial predators like Prairie Falcons seem to be a common cause of natural death in our curlew population.  Photo by Abigail Gwinn

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