If You’ve Always Wanted to Fly Like a Bird and With Birds, Parahawking Is For You

Who doesn’t want to fly like a bird? Whether you do it in your dreams or would choose it as your superhero power, it’s an experience unlike any other. Now what about flying like a bird while also hanging out with a bird? That’s an experience you can actually have in La Jolla, California with parahawking. The Torrey Pines Gliderport sits on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean just north of San Diego. Paragliders launch themselves into the air and ride the thermals above the beach and famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. And if you ride tandem with a certain falconry expert, you’ll get a visit from his feathered friends while you cruise the coastline. Check out the videos below for a taste of the awesome experience.

You can book a flight for yourself through  Fly With a Bird. Parahawking is just one way to commune with the trained birds of prey. The conservation agency Total Raptor Experience also offers group presentations and interactions with their hawks, falcons, and owls. Fun fact about owls, babies sleep on their tummies and it’s very cute. The educational experience of parahawking and falconry will undoubtedly teach you even more about the amazing animals.  

While you’re out there feeling like a superhero who can both fly and befriend animals, don’t forget about all the birds of prey in pop culture. There is, of course, even a movie called Birds of Prey, the fun 2020 Harley Quinn action comedy. Moving over to the MCU, the new Captain America still soars through the sky on his Falcon wings. And there’s a whole parliament of pop culture owls too, including David Bowie’s barn owl form as Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth.

Two people in a tandem paraglider with a hawk flying with them
UC San Diego

Even if you don’t go parahawking, paragliding itself looks like an awe-inspiring hobby. In an extreme example, one guy even launched a sofa off a cliff to become a paragliding couch potato

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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