The Gyrfalcon, the fastest of the falcons, may also have been preying on geese that have also turned up because of the dust cloud.
The Gyrfalcon preys on the geese so it has plenty of food available.
Like a few other species, the Gyrfalcon occurs in three different colour phases.
We are thrilled to help these wonderful birds return to the wild and contribute to the highly endangered population of gyrfalcons," said Masha Vorontsova, IFAW's Russia director.
Every year, an estimated 100 gyrfalcons are illegally captured and transported from the Kamchatka Peninsula.
There are an estimated 1,000 pairs of gyrfalcons left in the wild in Russia.
The species of falcons from which samples were obtained were peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus), saker falcons (Falco cherrug), red-naped shaheens (Falco pelegrinoides babylonicus), and gyr-hybrid falcons (gyrfalcon x peregrine falcon, gyrfalcon x saker falcon, gyrfalcon x red-naped shaheen).
Falcon species Group (a) Males Females Total Peregrine (n = 26) 1 11 14 25 2 0 1 1 Saker (n = 10) 1 0 6 6 2 0 4 4 Gyrfalcon (n = 22) 1 2 12 14 2 4 4 8 Red-naped shaheens (n = 3) 1 0 3 3 2 0 0 0 Hybrid falcons (n = 44) 1 7 18 25 2 5 14 19 Total group 1 20 53 73 Total group 2 9 23 32 Total both groups 29 76 105 Abbreviation: n indicates sample size.
But at least 100 wild gyrfalcons are smuggled out of Russia each year, primarily driven by demand from the growing popularity of falconry in the Middle East.
Officials believe that the eight gyrfalcons were captured from the wild in the Russian Far East and then transported by plane to Moscow, passing undetected through two security checkpoints and a customs inspection.
As in the similar Gyrfalcon
(Falco rusticolus), Sakers have immense plumage variation.
Plasma chemistry reference values for gyrfalcons