Egyptian Vulture Navigates Paraglider Through Thermals at 4250 Feet
Gliding + falconry = parahawking, a unique and exhilarating experience. Birds (vultures, eagles, hawks) are trained to "guide" a paraglider through thermals (columns of rising air in the lower altitudes of the Earth's atmosphere which provide large, soaring lifts). The birds also perform incredible acrobatic maneuvers. Developed by British falconer Scott Mason in 2001, Nepal is the home base for the sport.
Excerpt from a personal experience (via Daily Mail - click through for the entire account):
"The only sound is the eerie creak of nylon strings under the tension of my body weight. But then there's a rising whoosh, the billowing of fabric above us as we're borne aloft, high up into the heavens, by an invisible hand...
We've hit a thermal updraught – hot air rising from the ground's sun-baked crust and pushing us upwards. I'm paragliding, slung beneath a slash of brightly coloured fabric...
But we are not alone. Flying ahead of us like an F-16 escort, his huge wings outstretched and taking advantage of the same thermal, is Kevin. Kevin is an Egyptian vulture. And despite his craggy, gloomy face and balding pate, he has a sunny disposition.
This is parahawking..."
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