Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Death from above
May 3, 2013 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Watch Dora the falcon take out a duck- in midair.
posted by pjern (59 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, I'm glad birds of prey aren't any bigger. It's scenes like this that really impress the fact on me that humans are among the softest targets in the animal kingdom.

Although actually the occasional falcon strike taking out a city-dweller absorbed in their cell phone might be a good way to keep things lively.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:41 AM on May 3, 2013


That's an impressive amount of skill - to spot the duck and then execute a manoeuvre to take it out. Glad I'm not a duck.
posted by Solomon at 11:51 AM on May 3, 2013


"Flight leader, this is Dora 1. I have Jerry at my 9 o'clock low, I'm going in. TALLY HO!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:54 AM on May 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Duck, no ducking!
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:55 AM on May 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Take. the duck. out.
posted by Kabanos at 11:55 AM on May 3, 2013


"Duck!"

"Yes?"

"No! I mean --"

*THUD! QUACK!*

"Never mind..."
posted by brundlefly at 11:55 AM on May 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love that we live in a time when we can mount cameras on the backs of birds.

Ha! Take that, DUCK!
posted by bondcliff at 12:00 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Skip to about 2:45 for the terrifying takedown. Although the rest of video is pretty exhilirating.
posted by BurntHombre at 12:00 PM on May 3, 2013


Now I'm kind of motion-sick, but it was totally worth it.

I have been divebombed by territorial blackbirds, and it hurts a lot. The peregrine has also been known as the "big-footed falcon." That's a very good reason why banders who are banding peregrine nestlings wear helmets!
posted by rtha at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2013


Random data:
Peregrine Falcon dive speed: ~240 mph (107 m/s) weight (male): 1.7 lb (.75 kg)
Red Tailed Hawk dive speed: ~100 mph (44.704 m/s) weight: 3.6lb (1.6 kg)
Golden Eagle dive speed: ~175 mph () weight (male): 7.9 lb (3.6 kg)

Disclaimer - high school physics:

If you assume that the full force of impact happens in 0.05 seconds down to a speed of 0, getting hit by each of these would be:

Peregrine: 1600N
Red Tail: 1400N
Golden Eagle: 5600N

(method F = m × a, assuming a = δv/t)
If you assume that 100N feels more or less like holding 22 pounds stationary, then 1600N feels like holding 350 pounds.
posted by plinth at 12:10 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's too bad that George Plimpton already tied up the market with his falconry game, because this would have made an awesome bonus level for Duck Hunt.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:12 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had no idea falcons preyed upon ducks.
Or, was this one taught to by its owner?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:15 PM on May 3, 2013


Peregrines love anything with wings. I've seen them at the Bolinas Lagoon hunting shorebirds, seabirds, and everything else with feathers that has the nerve to be around when a pefa is hungry.
posted by rtha at 12:17 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Here come the painbirds," indeed.
posted by mykescipark at 12:26 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Using plinth's numbers to figure kinetic energy, the peregrine at full dive speed would carry 4293 Joules, which compares favorably to most firearms. Of course it won't all transfer into the prey, but I imagine the falcon has some interesting skeletal features to handle this sort of strike.
posted by exogenous at 12:28 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love the dubstep in the background during the slow motion sequence. Was that Skrillex?
posted by cmfletcher at 12:49 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


pefa, rtha? Feel free to just list more of those abbreviations here. I want to try to impress the next bunch of birder I meet.

Actually, list them without giving the expansions, please. It's like a good puzzle from GAMES magazine.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:58 PM on May 3, 2013


PEregeine FAlcon?
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:00 PM on May 3, 2013


Every bird species has a standardized unique 4-letter abbreviation. The most common ones attempt to contract the bird's common or scientific name, but it's intended to be a database index field.
posted by localroger at 1:09 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every bird species has a standardized unique 4-letter abbreviation. The most common ones attempt to contract the bird's common or scientific name, but it's intended to be a database index field.

I did not know that. Please tell me the common city pigeon, Columba livia, is thus called COLI... they are about as welcome as e. coli.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:21 PM on May 3, 2013


Wow, never knew that.
AMRO American Robin
TUTI Tufted Titmouse
MAGO Marbled Godwit
GRYE Greater Yellowlegs
DICK Dickcissel
BUFF Bufflehead

and on preview
ROPI Rock Pigeon

posted by exogenous at 1:23 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I only thought of one thing.
posted by GuyZero at 1:29 PM on May 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


so what's CROW stand for?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:31 PM on May 3, 2013


hashtag #followafalcon on twitter
posted by sweetkid at 1:38 PM on May 3, 2013


Beware that the banding codes are not actually unique. There are a few doubles.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:38 PM on May 3, 2013


Didn't know that, gingerbeer. I guess in the world of the splitter-clumper wars unique would be too much to ask. It's my wife who is the birder and I had to figure them out when she started using them in texts, then her blog posts.
posted by localroger at 1:55 PM on May 3, 2013


Apparently there is also a 6-letter code based on the scientific name. See PDF lists at the bottom of this page. Falco peregrinus is called FALPER.

But I think it should be ICEMAN.
posted by Kabanos at 2:06 PM on May 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Damn that bird has great eyesight.
posted by Mister_A at 2:20 PM on May 3, 2013


CROW stands for "Crested Owl". I shit you not (pdf). From this page.

/By the way, this is the best thing in a long time. much thx.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:21 PM on May 3, 2013


That flying duck is the proverbial sitting duck. Or, you know, was.
posted by mr. digits at 2:22 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just go read that list. It's like poetry. "Rufous-vented Chachalaca", "Spruce Grouse", "Christmas Shearwater", "Fulvous-vented Euphonia", "Montezuma Oropendola".

I want to read a novel where the lead character is named "Montezuma Oropendola". Junot Diaz, I'm looking at you.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:26 PM on May 3, 2013


I got a little anxious continuing to watch after the bird was on the ground and the narrator is urging his daughter to watch the predator chow down on bloody duck--he asks if she doesn't like the blood. She says no. And my mind zoomed back sixty years to the fancy duck hunting club where I first met my future MIL-- as she showed me around I asked about an item displayed in the rustic great hall; it was a duck press and I learned about Bloody Duck. The gadget was just a display in this context--the dish uses domestic fowl. I did learn to cook wild duck, however, and the one thing I remember well is how carefully you have to eat it to avoid a mouthful of shot.
posted by Anitanola at 2:26 PM on May 3, 2013


It's scenes like this that really impress the fact on me that humans are among the softest targets in the animal kingdom.

Even early hominids could throw rocks. A predator attacking a band of humans in daylight would get cut. Given that even a minor injury can impair a carnivore's hunting, guaranteed injury was a pretty good deterrent.

We also had the Achilles tendon and the sweat gland. Over long distances humans can keep up a faster pace in daylight hours than anything other creature on the savanna. Add goodeyes and a big brain for tracking skills and you've got a rather nasty predator. Being naked apes made us more dangerous, not more vulnerable.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:27 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


benito.strauss, my favorite bird name is Flammulated Owl. The name is bigger than the bird!
posted by rtha at 2:28 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


After looking over that species alpha bird name list I see why rtha went with the four-letter code instead of the six-. 'butjam' doesn't sound nearly as appealing.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:38 PM on May 3, 2013


Love falcons. I used to work in a building with a nest on the roof and you'd see them swooping past the windows. One day one of them came and sat on the window sill outside the window next to my desk on the 19th floor. He sat there and stared at me through the glass for a few minutes, this was fifteen years ago so no camera phones but he was a seriously magnificent beast to look at.
posted by octothorpe at 2:49 PM on May 3, 2013


Sadly there does not appear to be a MEFI or a MEFITE.
posted by Kabanos at 2:50 PM on May 3, 2013


I want to read a novel where the lead character is named "Montezuma Oropendola"

I have actually seen the Montezuma Oropendola in the wild, and it's as striking in person as it is in name.
posted by localroger at 2:51 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have actually seen the Montezuma Oropendola ...

Wow, that bird sure does earn his name.

Sadly there does not appear to be a MEFI or a MEFITE.

Did you not see this?
posted by benito.strauss at 3:02 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a teen, driving a tractor on the family farm, we had a red tail that would follow the tractors from above because they would scare up mice and gophers. It was a frightening thing to see if you weren't expecting it. Blackbirds would gang up on the big one now and then to case it away from their nests. Once, after getting pecked at by a particularly belligerent grackle I saw the hawk head up out of sight. 5-10 minutes later it dived and took out the black bastard just out of spite. Feathers flying everywhere. Man, what a show.
posted by Ber at 3:13 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am super in love with peregrines and this video was completely exhilarating to watch. They are the birds that inspired my love for birds and birding and the birds that lead me to start a blog about the birds on Alcatraz, when I worked there. We had a wintering female who started coming around and she was such a regular sight that my coworker and I tried to show her off to every visitor we could (the blog is still alive, but I no longer work there, so it's about birds wherever I happen to be). I actually spent several hours this morning watching a peregrine falcon nest on a bridge right by my house. They return there every year to nest, so I've been keeping my eye on them over the past month or so. I was stoked today to find that they have at least one chick now! (There are pictures in the flickr link in my profile. Don't want to seem like I'm trying to drum up views, I just seriously am in love with these birds.)
posted by primalux at 4:07 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh and
I have actually seen the Montezuma Oropendola in the wild, and it's as striking in person as it is in name.

I used to live in Costa Rica. Waking up to their "power line" calls is one of the things I miss most. At times we had dozens flocking around one little banana tree. I still watch videos I made of them calling whenever I get "CR homesick".
posted by primalux at 4:12 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


As someone with multiple bird tattoos (including one that says "i will be a bird again") and three full shelves of bird guides, I was completely blown away by this, to the point of tears. The alternating flap of wings and soaring silence, the rush of wind, the utter speed and grace of flight... wow. It also reminded me of the flying dreams I had as a kid. Thanks for this post, truly.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 5:04 PM on May 3, 2013


I think I was the only one who felt sorry for the duck. Poor little duck, just thinking about his explosive penis.
posted by angrycat at 5:57 PM on May 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Once you've seen a lot of duck gang rape, it's hard to feel sorry for ducks.

I kid. I love ducks. I have some Alcatraz stories about them too. Mainly that, try as they might, their babies never survive. Sometimes because the ravens decide to eat the ducklings in front of children...

I should go now.
posted by primalux at 6:08 PM on May 3, 2013


Peregrine Falcon dive speed: ~240 mph (107 m/s) weight (male): 1.7 lb (.75 kg)
Red Tailed Hawk dive speed: ~100 mph (44.704 m/s) weight: 3.6lb (1.6 kg)
Golden Eagle dive speed: ~175 mph () weight (male): 7.9 lb (3.6 kg)


I threw these numbers into a calculator for energy.

A typical 9mm bullet has about 350 ft/lbs of energy.

The birds above with the given numbers:
Falcon: 3,1838
Hawk: 1,1792
Eagle: 8,1253

The eagle's got about as much energy behind it as 25 or so 9mm bullets.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 6:16 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well she really quacked some heads there didn't she?
posted by Mister_A at 6:31 PM on May 3, 2013


quack
quack
thwack
crack
crack
*shnarfle*
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:44 PM on May 3, 2013


a) I literally just watched a video from inside the cockpit of an F-16 over on Gizmodo, so this was a very interesting comparison. Falcon vs falcon as it were.

b) I felt bad for the duck, too. Not a fan of animal killing animal videos.

Thanks for posting!
posted by tkerugger at 7:20 PM on May 3, 2013


Man, I'm glad birds of prey aren't any bigger. It's scenes like this that really impress the fact on me that humans are among the softest targets in the animal kingdom.

Monsters we met: NEW ZEALAND HAASTS EAGLE

Previously.
posted by homunculus at 8:07 PM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


A few weeks ago, my fiancee and I were standing on our deck feeding six ducks--three males and three females. They were at our feet, quacking in their ducky way, and we were having a laugh watching their antics. There is a little drainage crick / rivulet that runs past our back door, (drainage from a pond 100 yards up) and the ducks had been poking around in there, flapping around and rooting for weeds.

What we did not notice, and what the ducks also did not notice, was a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a branch about ten feet away.

The hawk bided her time, and dropped down from the tree like a goddamn cannonball--five ducks flew away.

The one male that the hawk "got" was mortally wounded, but the hawk held him under r the water for a few minutes before dragging him up on the bank. He was flapping for a while.

Eventually, the hawk dragged him further up into the woods and plucked him. She continued to come back every day for a week or two, eating the rest of him.

I got the attack on video with my phone, and I took a few pictures of the carcass. This was when there was still snow on the ground, and the red stain from the attack was there for a long time.

The whole thing was intense, brutal, sad, beautiful, sublime. I was ten feet away, and I don't know that I will ever see anything like that again, and I feel privileged to have been witness to it.

This is what became of the duck. WARNING: GRAPHIC
posted by exlotuseater at 10:14 PM on May 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pigeon flocks like to hang out on the roof of store near my apartment. Heading out one morning, I saw a flurry of motion in the corner of my eye. I looked up just in time for a fleeing pigeon to be taken out of the air by what I think was a hawk, passing almost directly overhead and coming to rest on a lawn a few meters from me. A bit stunned, although not as much as the pigeon, I stuck around to see what would happen.

The pigeon took a little while to stop moving, and the hawk was keeping an eye on me while it waited. However, in a few minutes, a magpie showed up. And then another.

The magpies were brazen. One would hop forward a few feet towards the hawk and its prize, then flutter back. Then the other would do the same. They repeated this several times and would let themselves get closer each time. Soon, they started circling the hawk, always directly opposite each other. The hawk would lunge at one, and the other would dart in from behind. The hawk obviously wasn't large enough to try to carry the pigeon away (and probably would have been vulnerable in the air with that much weight). It occurred to me that I was basically watching a mugging.

By the time I had to leave, there were half a dozen other magpies perched on a nearby roof watching the scene and it was pretty clear the hawk wasn't getting out of this with a meal. When I came back a few hours later, there was nothing left of the pigeon except some scattered feathers.
posted by figurant at 10:58 PM on May 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


That video has to make even the best fighter or attack pilots jealous.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 11:16 PM on May 3, 2013


We have a pet duck who is much more aware of soaring birds than I am. I'll see her tilt her head to look at something in the sky, so I'll stare too for a few seconds, then spot the far-off hawk, turkey vulture, eagle, or (sometimes) high-altitude plane. She sees more colors than I do, too. The hawks that have come into our yard seem to be after the squirrels, but we try to provide cover for her.
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 12:24 AM on May 4, 2013


We have a pet duck who is much more aware of soaring birds than I am.

We have four small parrots who were bred in captivity and have lived their entire lives indoors and on screened porches. Let them get the tiniest glimpse of a soaring hawk and the ruckus will begin.
posted by localroger at 5:52 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just about a minute ago, as I was stepping out onto the back porch, the starlings that nest in our eaves started making alarm calls, and I got to watch a big gorgeous Cooper's hawk sneak over the peak of the roof of the house behind us and *almost* catch a pigeon. She missed. Come back, Coop! We got fresh, tasty starlings! Open 24 hours for your dining pleasure!
posted by rtha at 11:54 AM on May 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a Sharp-shinned Hawk that frequents my yard and uses me to flush sparrows. Once or twice a week when I go out in the morning to feed my horses I'll see her sitting in a branch above my front door. When I pass the spruce tree between the house and the corrals the sparrows fly out and she grabs one, sometimes flying right over my shoulder.

I also know a little bit about the ducks perspective. There's a pair of Swainson's Hawks that nest in one of my trees so in the summer it's not uncommon to be dive bombed as a warning. One time I inadvertently got a bit too close to that years brood. I was walking down the driveway to get the mail when I heard a yell from my friend who was standing in the front door. I turned my head and then found myself lying in the driveway. The female Swainson's had punched me leaving six bruises on the side of my head along with a couple claw scratches. Looking up from the driveway I could see all three of that years babies within about fifteen feet of me. One in the black pine to the left of the driveway and two in the mountain ash to the right. I've been a bit more careful since then.
posted by the_artificer at 10:58 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was a scrubby little plain between my university residency hall and the main bulk of the college. At the time it was a pretty small establishment, just a half dozen buildings on campus at most, so it was basically surrounded by this swampy, scrubby wilderness. Fun times walking through that, especially during the breeding seasons. Eastern Grey kangaroos still live on campus, and they can get a bit stroppy when they have joeys that are just getting out of their pouches, and there were plenty of ducks around too that would go you if they thought you were getting to familiar with their chicks. I tell you, you haven't lived till you've been mauled by a duck.

Anyway, this being eastern Australia there were always loads of rabbits around, too. Creepy little fuckers would rustle away in the long grass, making snakeity noises and generally scaring the crap out of people by jumping madly at them while you walked home from late lectures. One morning I was ambling out to the campus from the res when all suddenly fell silent - then WHOOOOMP. DEATH FROM ABOVE. A peregrine dropping at full speed is like someone firing a missle and this one had decided to nail a rabbit like a half a metre off to my left. Totally slammed it, like the tiny grey fist of a very angry god. And it was so freaking fast. This chap hit it at full speed from a great height, so it was totally over well before my sad slow monkey reflexes even knew what I the fuck was going on. I doubt the bunny had a clue, either.
posted by Jilder at 5:58 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


That video is now private. :-/
posted by srboisvert at 1:07 PM on May 12, 2013


« Older Local Elections in the Shires of England took plac...  |  Wildcat, a collaboration betwe... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments