It’s All Fun And Games Until Someone Gets Hurt. (UPDATED!)

Pranks between the military academies are fairly common. The most famous of which is the stealing of the other team’s mascot.

Since the founding of the Air Force Academy in 1954, no other service institution has been able to kidnap the Academy’s mascot – a 22 year old falcon named Aurora.

This week the Cadets of the US Military Academy at West Point managed to break into the home of an Army colonel were the bird was being held before Saturday’s football game.

But something went wrong – horribly wrong.

While being kept by the Army cadets, both of the bird’s wings were injured, academy sources said.

Given its advanced age, the Air Force official said, Aurora might need to be euthanized.

Aurora was being brought back to Colorado Springs on Saturday afternoon on the football team’s charter flight, Air Force associate athletic director for communications Troy Garnhart said.

“USAFA mascot Aurora was injured over the weekend and is being transported back to Colorado,” academy spokesman Lt. Col Tracy Bunko said. “We have specialists at the academy who have the best training and facilities for her care. She is part of our academy family and we are all hoping for her full and speedy recovery.”

The instinctive first defense of a bird is always flight. It is always to fly away until it feels safe. Once captured by the cadets, we would speculate that is how the bird got hurt – trying to escape unfamiliar surroundings and people.

No one is to blame here. No one was intentionally trying to harm this bird. This clearly was a prank but it may be that this 22 year old, beautiful, magnificent bird will have to pay the ultimate price for this.

Aurora was the grand dame of the school’s falconry program, which includes a half-dozen birds managed by a dozen cadets. For more than two decades, she had traveled with cadets, posing for crowds. Aurora’s well-known temper and flighty nature meant that she was seldom used as a flying mascot, but she was docile enough with a handler to give thousands of people their first up-close glance of a live falcon.

We hope they don’t have to put Aurora down. Her injury just seems all so….so….pointless if you know what we mean.

Like we said, it is all fun and games until someone – or in this case something beautiful – gets hurt.


An Air Force falcon injured at West Point during a prank before Saturday’s annual rivalry game between the two service academies is back home and showing signs of improvement.

Air Force Academy spokesperson Lt. Col. Tracy A. Bunko said 22-year-old Aurora “was able to fly around in her pen” on Sunday.

Bunko called the development “an extremely good sign” and said the academy is “grateful for the outpouring of support and optimistic for Aurora’s recovery.”

The falcon will continue to be evaluated and receive antibiotics to prevent infection, Bunko said.

Good news indeed.

One Response to “It’s All Fun And Games Until Someone Gets Hurt. (UPDATED!)”

  1. Bob Chadwick says:

    This stopped being “fun and games” when the perpetrators of this “stunt” broke into a place where they had no invitation and no business and through their irresponsible actions injured an innocent creature.

    If these dopes are what West Point is foisting off on us as Army officers, we’re in trouble. I hope they at least have the integrity to take responsibility for their actions.

  2. […] week we talked about the mascot of the United States Air Force Academy being injured in a “prank” gone bad […]