The Seattle Seahawks have been known in years past as a team that “flies around the field,” thanks mainly to the speed of some their defensive players. One bird of a non-football feather has been taking flight for 13 seasons at CenturyLink Field, and shows no signs of slowing down.
GeekWire caught up with Taima the Hawk and his handler David Knutson, a master falconer from Spokane, Wash., on the sidelines before the team’s recent home opener.
Taima is an Augur Hawk from Africa, and was hatched in April 2005. The bird, with a wingspan of 4 1/2 feet, has been flying out of the stadium tunnel before home games since the Seahawks started playing at CenturyLink.
Knuston thinks the fact that Taima is 12 years old aligns well with the team’s 12th Man mystique and means the Seahawks are going to go the the Super Bowl again. He said there is a week of preparation that goes into the bird’s act on Sundays.
“He loves his work here, he loves flying in front of this crowd,” said Knutson, who has over 30 years of experience training and handling birds of prey. “As the crowd starts getting louder and louder as the game gets close he starts flapping more and he’s ready to go. We don’t know if he’s going to do it or not, every single time, and he does. It’s kind of a nervous, fun thing that we do.”
Taima even had some lipstick on his chest feathers on the Sunday when we met him.
“He’s very popular,” Knutson said.