Falcons ‘rapidly evolved hunter skill’

Falcons ‘rapidly evolved hunter skill’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/21885659

I love raptors – wrote a poem last year about meeting a falconer (and discussing the falcons’ sometimes-deadly speed) at Warwick Castle, you can read it here.

It turns out that missile skull of theirs, as well as other of their hunting perfection, evolved in a relatively-short period of time, in relative terms. They hurtle through evolution, as well as through the air, it seems…

One day I shall don the gauntlet myself and train a falcon…one day…

228mph or, The Falconer

Here’s a poem I wrote for a Teach First poetry slam we held yesterday – mine didn’t end up being performed (although the poem which did was very good) – so I thought it might be nice to blog it instead…


Two-Hundred and Twenty-Eight Miles an Hour, or

The Falconer


This, he says to his leathery arm, is only a baby.

Perched and alert, the crystalline bird’s eyes

stare through us – all fire and ice. He strokes its beak.

‘What can be the big speed?’ Asks a fledgling English-speaker.


He says:

Two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour

they dive. The speed of F-1, of guzzling horse-power:

Tiny ragged rockets, missile-beaked,

Vertical talons of glycerine light.


But two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,

Misjudged, and wings on fences rip.

Two-hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,

Mis-timed, and bright claws bruise to blue.

Two hundred and twenty-eight miles an hour, he says,

These pigeon-bomb airy stealth fighters

Can self-destruct slice on telephone wires.


The falconer looks at the horizon, the sky, the past,

and says: It’s never the superstars which last.