Monday, November 2, 2009

Parahawking: Paragliding with Hawks

Parahawking is paragliding while specially-trained birds of prey swarm all around you; including vultures, eagles, falcons but predominantly with hawks. It’s available in Nepal courtesy of a bird rescue group called Himalayan Raptor Rescue. The video is amazing. I cannot imagine the feeling. It must be truly inspirational and exhilarating.

Birds of prey have a natural instinct to conserve energy wherever and whenever possible. During a flight, a bird will burn more energy than it would if it was just sitting in a tree, this means it has to eat to replace the used energy. Sometimes birds will travel long distances to find food. To conserve energy whilst flying, birds of prey use thermals. Thermals are rising currents of warm air that are created by the sun heating the ground. Birds can gain height and travel long distances without flapping their wings by using thermals. Paragliders also use thermals when they are flying and will often use wild birds to guide them to where the thermals are. Our trained birds are no different, they will find the thermals in order to stay aloft and conserve energy whilst flying. We as paragliders harness their ability to conserve energy by following them as we fly.


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

[via urlesque]   ▣

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