Photographer Catches Falcon Hitching a Ride on a Goose

falcon hitches a ride on a goose
A peregrine falcon lands on the back of a goose in mid-air | John Ovenden

A wildlife photographer captured a “once in a lifetime” photo of a peregrine falcon hitching a ride on a goose.

The peregrine falcon landed on the goose and rode it for a few seconds before jumping off and flying away.

John Ovenden was out photographing birds in Jersey, an island in the English Channel, when the bizarre incident happened.

“I was amazed to see such a sight,” he tells PetaPixel. “I was thrilled to have captured such a special moment.”

goose and falcon
The peregrine falcon cruises up to the back of the goose preparing for landing | John Ovenden

Ovenden was using a Canon R5 with a 300mm L lens attached to it to capture the “goose surfing.”

“We saw the peregrine chasing some little birds around and then all of a sudden it shot up behind this goose, slowed down a little bit, and then rode it for a few seconds,” he tells the Jersey Evening Post.

“It then came alongside the goose and eye-balled it. It was very weird — very unusual animal behavior and I doubt I’ll ever see anything like that again.”

goose and falcon
The peregrine falcon “eye-balled” the goose after hitching a ride on it for a few seconds | John Ovenden

Ovenden says that the peregrine falcon was not attacking the goose. “Geese are big birds and know how to look after themselves,” he says.

“And the goose didn’t seem fazed by it at all, it just kept on flying.”

Photography on the Channel Islands

Jersey is a self-governing Crown dependency of Britain closer to France than it is to England.

“Jersey is an amazing place for photography as there is so much wildlife,” Ovenden says.

“I spend my winters photographing birds and my summer in my boat capturing our amazing dolphins, Blue Fin Tuna, and a wide variety of sea birds.

“I also love taking pictures of landscapes and wave photography. The Channel Islands is such a beautiful place to live.”

Ovenden has been photographing wildlife since the 1980s and shares his images to the John Ovenden Photography Facebook page.

Image credits: All photos by John Ovenden.