Small portable video cameras can now routinely capture images we could only dream of a few years ago. Suddenly, we get Harry Potter’s owl Hedwig’s view of the world — these clips of one and two falcons chasing crows are incredible. The staff at OutdoorHub posted this video for all to enjoy:
Falcons have a place among birds of prey as canny hunters, and one of their most successful techniques is that of “motion camouflage.” By following their prey in a fixed location, the falcon can mask its approach by appearing still to its target. Instead of perceiving movement, the hapless meal-to-be simply sees the falcon get gradually larger. With the help of head-mounted cameras, scientists are now able to see how this technique works firsthand.
“They come in very, very fast and use their talons and the force of impact to kill the bird, or they very quickly break its neck,” Haverford College’s Suzanne Kane, who is leading the study, told The Guardian. “Which isn’t very nice to think about.”
Kane cooperated with falconers and technology experts in the United States, Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands to affix the tiny cameras to hunting birds. Using a combination of large gyrfalcons and Saker, the cameras took to the air as the birds chased down crows and other prey.