Film crew chases hawk that hunts with fire

10 May 2018
Robert Redford shows the film crew how the fire hawks work wildfires

Media interest in Karrkanj, the hawk that hunts with fire, continues to grow.

In May 2018 a film crew from Northern Pictures, a Sydney-based production company, spent a week filming with rangers and elders to tell the Karrkanj story as one segment of a major series about wild Australia.

They weren’t lucky enough to film the bird lighting fires — that’s VERY rarely seen. But they did film the three species of firehawks working the fire as rangers conducted early burning.

And they did get to record a first hand report from Norrie Martin who saw the bird start fire back north near Maningrida some years ago.

“We went out hunting, all my boys were still little boys. We went to the hunting place for kangaroos.

“We were sitting and looking at fire and the birds, and then I saw this Karrkanj fly down and grab the burning stick and fly away to burn another place and another grass.”

The interview took place in the shade at Robert and Norrie’s favorite fishing place on the Wilton River, watched for over an hour by a wild buffalo only 20m way.

“He’s OK,” Robert reassured the film crew.

“This is his place too.”