Watch as this large black vulture swoops in to perch on the paraglider’s selfie stick while they’re thousands of feet into the atmosphere mid-flight.
If you’ve never seen anything like this, that’s because it’s part of a brand new sport. The paraglider pilot, Scott Mason, is pioneering the activity. He calls it: Parahawking.
Parahawking pairs paragliders with birds of prey in order to take advantage of thermal columns. In Mason’s case, it’s a North American black vulture he’s training to lead him into the warm thermals. These thermals are columns of warm air that funnel upward as the hot air naturally rises into the atmosphere. If you ever see vultures gliding high up in the sky as they glide without flapping their wings – this is exactly what they’re doing. They’re riding thermals!
Mason has picked an excellent guide to lead him – as black vultures are some of nature’s most adept at finding and riding these warm currents.
While the vulture may be of a North American species, these high fliers are filming over Algodonales, Andalucia, Spain. Mason films as he and his paragliding partner coast along a thermal at incredible altitude for a glider.
Footage shows black vulture land on selfie stick mid-flight
As he films with his GoPro on a selfie stick, his partner vulture coasts along beside them. The vulture then decides to show off and perch mid-flight onto the selfie stick – before he takes right back off into the thermal.
What keeps the vulture on track and eager to lead his human parahawking companion to thermals? Either glider pilot stashes bits of meat as rewards for their birds to snack on after completing a task.
According to Storyful, Mason has been training birds since the age of ten. He tells the site he pioneered parahawking “to raise awareness for birds of prey across Asia and Europe”. Since then, it has become a successful tourist attraction, too.
‘My aim was to create awareness, to portray them in a more positive light and educate people about the important role they play in our ecosystem.’Scott Mason, Parahawking pioneer