Saturday, 25 January 2014

Falcons Catching Prey

I admit to having a huge thing for critter cams. I haven’t had a TV in a long time, but I occasionally house sit for friends who do. With the novelty of cable access, I gravitate towards science or technology or nature or history shows and documentaries. Several times in years past I have marvelled at images brought back by seals and narwhals and raptors that have small cameras mounted to them. To be able to see what they see is one of those things I’m grateful to modern technology for.

This footage of falcons (in what looks to be the Netherlands - although the researcher is at an American university) catching crows is awe inspiring. The imagery suffers from some scenes of vertigo inducing pitching and yawing of the horizon as the camera is jostled on the birds back as it moves itself about seeking out its quarry. And then there is the not so pleasant sounds of wind whistling past a microphone. But when it locks on and dives for prey the scene levels out and the wind is ignorable. The last minute or so as a few falcons team up to hunt crows among a tree lined road with flat empty fields beside it, is truly breathtaking.

And you can read the article published about the findings revealed by the cameras in the Journal of Experimental Biology, “Falcons pursue prey using visual motion cues: new perspectives from animal-borne cameras” by Suzanne Amador Kane and Marjon Zamani.

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