I’m gonna go with awesome, humbling, and WTF just happened?
That’s the situation BASE jumper Brendan Weinstein was in earlier this week when he reviewed his flight footage and noticed something he hadn’t seen while in the air; he was actually over-taken mid-flight very briefly by said peregrine falcon – generally accepted as the fastest animal on the planet – in a 10 second aerial dust-up that’s making the rounds online.
He Was In the Slow Lane…
In his words, Weinstein didn’t realize he’d been overtaken mid-air until viewing the footage of his wingsuit flight through the Sierra Nevada mountains in California this week.
When he saw the footage, he first thought the object was another wingsuiter. Think that, he wondered how he was passed so quickly (and seriously, this is the definition of ‘quickly’ – watch the video). It was only after he slowed the footage and looked closer that he saw that unmistakable profile of a falcon, later identified as indeed being a peregrine falcon.
It’s pretty clear in the video who’s in charge in this lightning quick encounter. While a wingsuit flier might reach speeds of 200mph in certain conditions, watch the falcon sneak up on Weinstein like he’s in the slow lane, dive in, and pass the athlete so quickly you’ll need to watch it in slow motion.
Two Raptor Photobombs in Three Years
Observers can only speculate why the falcon swooped in for his 10 seconds of fame. Some think the falcon might have chicks in the area and was zoning in for a bit of a dog fight. Others think the bird was hungry, or maybe it thought Weinstein was competition.
My own two cents? Our friend Mr. Falcon was trying to show off.
Surprisingly, this is actually one of two raptor/wingsuit photobombs we’ve seen in the past few years; you may recall a mid-air collision several years ago between a wingsuiter and vulture in Russia, in which both went down and were OK after a lot of cussing.
It’s a fun – albeit humbling video – which has yet to settle an interesting premiss: if a falcon photobombs you, is it ‘getting the bird’?