The Kabini Talon Hunt
In this age of reality shows and talent hunts, there’s somebody who’ll fly away with all the honours if there was to be a test of cross-terrain adaptability for the animal kingdom. When it comes to hunting in the waters of the Kabini, the Osprey, or Fish Eagle, prefers to let his talons do his talent justice. Blessed with reversible outer toes to take a firm grip, and razor sharp talons with backward facing scales that lock into the most slippery fish, this denizen of the skies doesn’t just get his feet wet in the river, but gets them to conjure up a scrumptious meal too. Our feathered hero, however, doesn’t set store by blind dates for dinner, and prefers to depend on his unique vision that lets him spot an underwater meal from as much as 40 meters above surface level. He then tucks his wings partially back and throws those wickedly sharp talons forward, extending them to eye level, and dives before emerging with a plump fish, ready for the table. If the catch is particularly large, he rests awhile on the surface, almost like a surfer taking a breather. When he takes off, he takes the surf imagery into another spatial dimension; he uses his talons to turn the fish – head facing forward – to improve the aerodynamics, and thus creates an illusion of wind-surfing. It’s not always one-way traffic though, and there are instances when the Osprey bites off more than it can chew. Observers in Kabini have seen the odd Osprey dragged under by fish too large to lift, and drowned because his talons were enmeshed in the scales, and he couldn’t disengage in time. As is true of warriors everywhere, this is illustrative of the real possibility that ‘he who lives by the talon, also dies by the talon!’
We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.