Gyrfalcon, Gerfalcon

or Jerfalcon. A native of Iceland and Norway, highest in the list of hawks for falconry, “Gyr,” or “Ger,” is, I think, the Dutch gier, a vulture. It is called the “vulture-falcon” because, like the vulture, its beak is not toothed. The common etymology from hieros, sacred, “because the Egyptians held the hawk to be sacred,” is utterly worthless. Besides Ger-falcons, we have Gier-eagles, Lammer-geiers, etc. (See Hawk.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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