Strange Science: Australian Birds of Prey and Fire

Australian ornithologists have found evidence that birds of prey sometimes use fire to drive their prey out of hiding.

Aboriginal Australians have stories of birds carrying fire, which modern witnesses have now corroborated. “Black kites (Milvus migrans), whistling kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and brown falcons (Falco berigora) all regularly congregate near the edges of bushfires, taking advantage of an exodus of small lizards, mammals, birds and insects–but it appears that some may have learnt not only to use fire to their advantage, but also to control it.” The birds find a branch or other vegetation that is partially on fire and carry it to another area, where they attempt to set a patch on fire to draw out prey when the fire itself is not doing that work, or when they want the prey in a different area.

You can read more about this phenomenon here!

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