Dec 03 2012

Does This Remind You Of Someone?

Published by at 7:30 am under Bird Behavior,Birds of Prey

Peregrine fans, does this photo remind you of someone?

This scene is from Baringo Cliffs, Kenya where a lanner falcon attacked a Verreaux's eagle and forced it to flip upside down to defend itself.

Lanners are about the size of peregrines and they hate eagles just as much as our peregrines do.

The photographer, Steve Garvie, describes it this way:
"A pair of Lanner Falcons were nesting at one end of the cliffs and this massive female Verreaux's Eagle drifted into their airspace. The female Lanner took to the air and quickly gained height then she flapped twice twisted onto her side then plunged in a deep stoop striking the circling eagle on the back of the head. The female eagle got a sore one and as the Lanner approached again she flipped upside down and clearly indicated there would be no second chance!"

Half a world away on June 6, 2012, Pitt's famous peregrine Dorothy saw a bald eagle approach her "cliff" at the Cathedral of Learning.  She too flapped a couple of times and then attacked.  The bald eagle flipped upside down but it didn't matter.  Dorothy won.

Eagles, whether Verreaux's or Bald, can't fly upside down for long.  Though Garvie doesn't say it, I'm sure the lanner drove the eagle away just as Dorothy did at Pitt.

It's Guess Who Won with an African twist.


(photo by Steve Garvie on Wikimedia Commons. Click on the photo to see the original)

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Does This Remind You Of Someone?”

  1. MVon 03 Dec 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Great post! By the way, has anyone spotted Dorothy lately?

  2. Kate St. Johnon 03 Dec 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Yes, Dorothy spent a lot of the day today perched on the northeast corner of the Cathedral of Learning, staying out of the southwest wind.

  3. MVon 03 Dec 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Thank you so much for the Dorothy update! I look for her at the nest box fairly often on the falcon cam but haven’t seen her. I miss her. 🙁 Can’t wait for spring!

  4. Nathan chronisteron 02 May 2015 at 7:22 am

    how long can the eagle stay upside down? Just for a moment, or several beats of the wings?

  5. Kate St. Johnon 02 May 2015 at 7:25 am

    Nathan, it can fly upside down for a couple of moments. Many birds of prey can flip upside down like that but they need momentum from their right-side-up flight to stay in the air. Their wings generate lift only in the right-side-up position.

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