Watch the fastest animal in the world – a peregrine falcon – effortlessly accelerate to speeds of more than 290 kilometres per hour to chase a plummeting skydiver.

If you think the cheetah is the fastest animal in the world, you’re not even close. While these lovely big cats can hit speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour, peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) have been known to clock speeds of up to 389 km/h, which is just mind-meltingly fast. Especially when you consider that this isn’t far off the current record for the fastest car in the world, which hit 435.5 km/h at a NASA facility earlier this year. All that money and all that research, and we’re still just trying to keep up with nature.

As part of the BBC documentary series, BBC Earth, British presenter and veterinarian Steve Leonard wanted to see a diving peregrine falcon in action, so he launched himself off the side of a hot air balloon with a falcon lure and speedometer in tow. The team’s peregrine falcon, named Lady, has been training for six years to pursue a special lure to receive a food reward, but getting her comfortable with performing the exercise 3 km above the ground took another six months of intensive training.

Watch what happens in the video above, Lady makes it look like the easiest thing in the world.

Source: BBC Earth