4/01/2008

Peregrine Falcon: PBS Raptor Force

I saw this AMAZING show on PBS called Raptor Force that shows the flying ability of raptors. They focus on the INCREDIBLE Peregrine Falcon showing how it actually dives to the earth. Here is a clip that shows how the Peregrine goes into the dive. If you notice it turns it's head at a strange angle, which they explain is actually due to the bird sweet spot in it's vision. The Peregrines sweet spot is not straight on center, but is actually off center.

Here's an explanation of the Peregrine's attack path by Tucker, Tucker, Akers and Enderson :
"When diving at prey straight ahead from great distances at high speeds, a peregrine has a conflict between vision and aerodynamics: it must turn its head approximately 40 degrees to one side to see the prey with maximum visual acuity at the deep fovea of one eye, but the head in this position increases aerodynamic drag and slows the falcon down. The falcon could resolve this conflict by holding its head straight and flying along a logarithmic spiral path that keeps the line of sight of the deep fovea pointed sideways at the prey. Wild peregrines, observed with binoculars, telescopes and a tracking device, did approach prey the size of American robins (Turdus migratorius) and smaller birds from distances of up to 1500 m by holding their heads straight and flying along curved paths that resembled the logarithmic spiral".

9 comments:

Lynne said...

Cool article.

Nice face!

Feathered Fan said...

Hey Lynne,

Thanks - I'm assuming you're referring to my face not the Falcon's ;-) I decided to change the profile pic to something more natural. I guess my owl face scared some people.... I'm also going by feathered fan, rather than owlman cos I think Owlman is a little corny

Amy said...

This was a great show and I recorded it on our DVR so I can watch it again. I thought they did a great job covering all kinds of raptors, although I wish they'd spent just a bit more time on owls. Still, it was a great show!

Jochen said...

Hey, new face, new name!
It'll be hard changing the habit of calling you "Owlman" though, as I liked owlman.

Owlman said...

> Amy, I was also a little dissapointed that they didn't spend more time on the owls. I also have it recorded and I'll be watching it a few more times.
> Jochen, new face indeed although I switched my name back. My fascination with owls goes back to childhood and I really am an owl fanatic so the name stays. As for the face, that's the one I was born with ;-)

HANNIBAL said...

I'm glad you are Owlman instead of Feathered Fan.

I'm a fan of Owlman,
but of Feathered Fan,
I am not...
Your identity that is...
(It's not corny)

I like the real face,
but the fake owl
mug WAS cute...

Jochen said...

Glad to have Owlman back!

Susan said...

Thought you'd be interested in this short omega-3 video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIgNpsbvcVM

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Owlman said...

Thanks for popping in Susan. Not sure what the connection between the post and Omega 3's is. At the very least I think it's a good general wellness video and any video that shows mice doggy paddling can't be bad. I am also the owlman and owls LOVE mice - maybe that's the connection....