Chayton, the Peregrine Falcon! Last month, the Wildlife Center enlisted the help of K-12 students from around the world in coming up with a name for a Peregrine Falcon – a non-releasable bird that will soon be traveling the state as one of the Center’s environmental ambassadors. Within two weeks, the Center received 83 suggestions from 25 different schools. Many Virginia schools participated, but news of the Peregrine Falcon naming traveled far and wide, as suggestions also came from Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Sweden!
The staff narrowed down the 83 suggestions to a list of the “Top 16” names – and the Peregrine’s Caring for Critters adopters took it from there. With their help, the list was narrowed to the top five names. Voting started on May 14– and the race was on between Chayton, Chess, Hunter, Jameston, and Max. On Tuesday, May 22, the voting ended – and with nearly 35% of the vote, Chayton was the clear winner.
Chayton was suggested by Shyasia in Mrs. Preston’s 4th grade class at Camp Allen Elementary School in Norfolk, VA. Mrs. Preston writes, “We researched Native American names and found the Sioux word for ‘falcon’ which is CHAYTON.” Other top contenders included Max, Hunter, Jameston, and Chess.
Chayton — likely a male, due to his size — was found injured in Chesapeake, Virginia in February 2010. Wildlife Center veterinarians diagnosed fractures of the falcon’s major and minor metacarpals in the right wing – essentially, the equivalent of the “hand” bones in humans. Due to the severity of the injury, Chayton is unable to fly well enough to be released. During the past eight months, the Center’s veterinary and outreach teams have been evaluating the bird for its suitability as an education ambassador – a bird that would accompany Center staff on trips to schools, county fairs, and other public events – and they have determined that this peregrine falcon should become one of the Center’s environmental ambassadors.