Jul 18 2013

Dives Vertically to Capture Prey

Published by at 7:41 am under Bird Behavior,Birds of Prey

Shikra, adult male (photo from Wikipedia)

What does this bird ...

... have in common with this roller coaster?

SheiKra roller coaster, Tampa Bay, FL (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The roller coaster was named for him.

The SheiKra roller coaster in Busch Gardens Tampa amusement park dives 200 feet at 70 miles an hour.  In the photo above, the sloped run takes the cars up.  The dive section is so vertical you could mistake it for a support strut.  Yow!

The coaster was named for the shikra (Accipiter badius), a hawk of Asia and Africa, because the hawk will dive vertically to capture prey.

He looks a lot like a Coopers hawk because both are accipters.  In fact he's very similar in lifestyle and size to our sharp-shinned hawk.  When they're upset they nearly sound the same.  Here's the voice of a shikra, and here's the voice of a sharpie.

I would not know of the shikra's existence except for a Wikipedia article that featured the roller coaster.  When it mentioned a bird I had to look.

I love these connections.

(both photos from Wikimedia Commons.  Click on an image to see its original)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Dives Vertically to Capture Prey”

  1. Rob Protzon 18 Jul 2013 at 8:55 am

    Love the way your mind works, Kate! 🙂

  2. Kathy Bramanon 18 Jul 2013 at 11:06 am

    I agree with Rob, Kate! I totally get that.

  3. John P. Englishon 18 Jul 2013 at 12:06 pm

    There’s a new ride coming to the same park in 2014 – Falcon’s Fury. http://seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-tampa/Attractions/Rides/Falcons-Fury?from=Front_Page_Bottom_Promo
    Maybe we need a field trip 🙂

  4. Geneon 18 Jul 2013 at 9:02 pm

    A peregrine coaster may not be quite as steep but would be a lot faster. Any volunteers for a 200 mph coaster?

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