Seeing Eye Birds: Parahawking

Guide dogs can see what a blind person cannot: doors, stoplights, crosswalks. Hawks can see what no person can see: thermals. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone flying a glider could keep a hawk on a tether for the purpose of sniffing out flight-sustaining thermal updrafts?

There’s no tether, but that’s the basic idea behind parahawking. The birds fly free but are rewarded from time to time. As it says in the FAQ.

Our birds need to be rewarded for guiding us into the thermals. During the flight the passenger will place small morsels of meat onto his gloved hand, the birds will come and gently land on the hand to take the food, and then gracefully fly away to find the next thermal. A perfect symbiotic relationship.

The video is a little long and same-y, but it’s worth watching to see the birds landing on the customer’s arm for a mid-flight snack. Start about 2 minutes in if you want to jump right to the good stuff.

I can see how this would go down big with the swim-with-dolphins set.

[Spotted on DIY Drones]

One thought on “Seeing Eye Birds: Parahawking”

  1. Really neat. Back when I was in a more appropriate area I used to spend some time in sailplanes. It was common to find yourself in a thermal with hawks and sometimes too easy to pay attention to them.

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