Falcon Rides Out Typhoon on High-Rise Window in South China

By Ryan Gandolfo, September 18, 2018

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When a major storm is coming, we prepare ourselves with food, water and shelter. One thing we don’t consider: birds.

When Typhoon Mangkhut arrived in South China this past Sunday, one creature reached internet stardom for its tough predicament. Over the weekend, a Weibo user posted an image of what appears a falcon camped out on a window ledge to avoid Mangkhut’s brutal wind and rain. (No sources have confirmed the species of the bird in the image, although some commenters have referred to it as Falco tinnunculus, otherwise known as a common kestrel). 

While we don’t know where the image was captured, netizens believe the unfortunate (and now internet famous) bird was photographed taking refuge somewhere in Shenzhen. While no video footage of the bird-storm-ledge encounter has surfaced, Weibo paints a distressing picture: a bird, caught in the path of an unforgiving storm, seeking refuge outside someone’s kitchen window. 

Image via Sina Viewpoint

Falcons are a rather common sighting in China, according to an article on Sina Viewpoint. The author writes, “they really like setting up their nests on skyscrapers, especially on top of the outside air conditioning unit.” (Admittedly, we’ve only seen a couple such predatory birds during our time in South China).

According to the New York Times, “Among a bird’s weather management skills is the power to detect the air pressure changes that signal a coming storm.” With this superhero-like talent, birds usually have enough time to prepare for incoming storms; however, it’s still not clear to scientists how the system works. 

Image via Sina Viewpoint

Discussion on Weibo was mildly disturbing, with some users suggesting the photographer should be preparing the pot for falcon soup. Others felt sorry for the distressed bird, saying the person should have let the falcon inside to ride out the storm (now that would have been a great video). One person even made reference to Harry Potter’s reliable messenger owl, writing, “A letter from Hogwarts has arrived.”

WATCH: South China Decimated by Deadly Typhoon Mangkhut

[Cover image via @吃喝玩乐嗨IN广州/Weibo]

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