by Pam Zubeck
The newest member of the Air Force Academy weighs in at only four ounces.
Buzz, an American kestrel falcon, joins the 12 other falcons already housed in the falcon mews located just north of Arnold Hall on the academy grounds.
The small falcon had a rough start in life, the academy said in a press release. He was housed in a small birdcage until he was rescued and rehabilitated at the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center. The one-year-old is still recuperating from some damaged feathers but is expected to fully recuperate.
When Buzz's feathers heal, he may eventually be able to fly in an enclosed area. Buzz is hand-fed quail. In the wild, American kestrels feed on insects, mice, lizards and snakes.
Buzz was named after one of the main characters in the Disney animated film "Toy Story," as was the Academy's previous kestrel, Woody.
The cadet falconers spent about two hours daily checking each bird's health and condition, feeding, training, cleaning the mews and conducting routine maintenance of equipment. About once a month, they also participate in demonstrations and educational programs.