As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Birds of prey are starting fires DELIBERATELY: Kites and falcons are 'intentionally dropping smouldering twigs' to smoke out mice and insects in Australia

Researchers have compiled a study of reports of wild birds spreading fires
They believe the birds carry burning twigs to unburnt parts of the bush
Birds then drop them in a bid to smoke out prey such as insects and mice 
Researchers said birds could be 'third force' capable of starting bush fires


PUBLISHED: 16:13, 9 February 2016 | UPDATED: 19:46, 9 February 2016

Birds of prey are suspected of deliberately starting fires to capture fleeing animals in the Australian Bush.

No other animal apart from man has been recorded as starting a fire deliberately.

At least two birds of prey - black kites and the brown falcon - swoop on burning twigs and embers and carry them to unburnt parts of the bush where they are thought to deliberately start bushfires, according to witnesses. 

At least two birds of prey - black kites and the brown falcon - swoop on burning twigs and embers and carry them (pictured) to unburnt parts of the bush where they are thought to deliberately start bushfires, according to witnesses. They then capture large insects, frogs and animals rushing to escape

They then capture large insects, frogs and animals rushing to escape.

Researchers believe the raptors may be a 'third force' capable of starting bush fires – the others being man and lightning strikes.

Bob Gosford, a lawyer who works with indigenous peoples, and Mark Bonta, a scientist from Penn State have compiled a study of reports of flames jumping fire breaks, which have occurred because of the intervention of wild birds.

Mr Gosford told the IFL Science website: 'Reptiles, frogs and insects rush out from the fire, and there are birds that wait in front, right at the foot of the fire, waiting to catch them.


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