Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Birds of Prey Hunting Crows in Winter

The bird of prey is described as a falcon
, but I am not sure that is the raptor in question. I am not sure a falcon can carry a camera (a question of size), and as a rule they hunt in a different manner than this.  It also appears there are two birds hunting as a pair, which makes me think Harris Hawk. Thoughts?


Mark Farrell-Churchill said...

Yes, definitely falcons. The stoop that begins at 0:10 and ends at 0:20, for example, is more or less diagnostic, and the sustained pursuits throughout are as well: accipiters haven't usually the endurance for this sort of chase, and buteos haven't the speed.

Also, if you hit pause at 0:36 you can see the pointed wings typical of Falco.

Long-winged hawks (falcons) can, if acclimated to one another's company, be flown in casts, and have been for centuries. Crow-hawking in particular is usually done with a cast; see Dr. Nick Fox's book Classical Hawking, devoted entirely to the pursuit of corvids with falcons.

Awe-inspiring footage, by the way. Thanks for sharing!

PBurns said...

J writes that these two birds are a pair of male gyrfalcon/Saker falcon hybrids. The entire camera rig is only 20g (the weight of 4 nickels) so they can even put back-mounted camera on peregrines. Amazing!

More here at the Journal of Experimental Biology >> http://jeb.biologists.org/content/217/2/225.full