Head cam shows how falcons track prey

Falconers from around the world mounted tiny cameras on their birds. The footage revealed that the falcons track and attack their prey by maneuvering to keep the target stationary in their visual field.

Eddy de Mol

Footage from miniature video cameras strapped to falcons’ backs or heads shows that the animals use a form of motion camouflage to attack and capture flying prey.

The falcon headgear shows how the animal adjusts its flight to create motion camouflage. With this strategy, the prey remains in a fixed spot in the falcon’s field of view, and the falcon remains stationary from the perspective of its prey until the final seconds before being attacked, scientists report January 15 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Having a better idea of how falcons and other predatory birds follow objects that move quickly and unpredictably could help improve the design of robots and unmanned aircraft, the researchers say.

A BIRD’S VIEW  A camera on the back of a falcon shows how the animal captures flying crows. 

Credit: Eddy De Mol

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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