Scientists fitted Peregrine falcons with cameras to observe how the aerial hunters took down their prey.
Peregrine falcons are the fastest creatures on earth. With a top speed of over 200 mph, these birds of prey can easily outpace the fastest fighter planes from WWI. Scientists have long known of their impressive hunting dives, but until Suzanne Amador Kane of Haverford College in Pennsylvania strapped a camera to the falcons, they weren’t sure how exactly they went about their hunt, New Scientist reports.
Kane and her research team predicted the falcons would adhere to a spiral path, giving the birds an aerodynamic edge that would allow them to make huge speed gains, while also tracking their intended target at a 45-degree angle. They were surprised, however, to find this wasn’t the case at all.
After analyzing the video frame by frame, Kane discovered the falcons utilized constant bearing, a technique used by sailors to avoid collisions at sea. The falcons predicted the future location of their prey and aimed towards the point of intercept.
Their speed and cunning make them formidable adversaries to even the swiftest of animals. And while Peregrine falcons are blindingly fast, it appears they also have advanced hunting techniques.
[ New Scientist ]