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Have you seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds?
This 1963 movie is an iconic thriller and was inspired by a real life event which happened in a small coastal town in California.
Movies like this pop up in our cinemas from time to time but the prospect of injuries or even death caused by aggressive birds is not fiction.
Territoriality and defending their young from predators is serious business for even the smallest birds. The list below highlights some of the most dangerous birds in the world.
Our very own Australian inhabiting bird has been known to kill human beings with their feet. They have 3 toes and the middle toe bears a long dagger like nail that can slash your throat or tear your abdomen apart. These curious birds do attack from time to time and they can run as fast as 50 klm per hour!
The most recent attack on a human was in 2012 when a Queensland tourist was kicked off a ledge by a cassowary, falling in to a body of water. He lived but a teenage boy many years ago was killed when he and his friends were attempting to hunt them. The cassowary slashed his jugular vein.
The ostrich is the largest living bird in the world. These flightless birds are only found in open country Africa and can grow as tall as 2.75 meters and weigh up to 150 kg.
They have 2 toes, one that has a large hoof like shape. The other toe has a long dagger type nail. If they are cornered they can deliver a kick hard enough to kill lions and other large predators.
Attacks on humans are rare. One of the most publicised attacks on humans by an ostrich is the one on American musician Johnny Cash.
Cash kept an exotic animal farm on his property and began to encounter an aggressive ostrich on his walks. One day he swung a 6 foot stick at the ostrich who dodged it and slashed at Cash with his foot, slashing his stomach. Luckily Cash had a large belt buckle that probably saved his life.
This vulture breed often reaches lengths of more than 1 meter with a wingspan of nearly 3 meters. they inhabit areas of central Asia and East Africa through to Spain.
Vultures feast on carrion and drop their victims from up to 80 meters in the air on to flat surfaces so that they can break their bones and access the marrow.
Attacks on humans are very rare , however the Athenian dramatist Aeschylus is said to have died on Sicily’s south coast when a bearded vulture dropped a tortoise on his bald head, mistaking it for a stone! Sounds like the writing of a comic writer to me!
GREAT HORNED OWL
All kinds of owls have been know to attack people when defending their young or their. Frequently the attacks are on unsuspecting joggers and hikers but the Great Horned Owls have received attention for some high profile attacks. The clutching force of their talons can be as strong as 500 psi which is similar to a bulldog thus great enough to kill, blind or disfigure. Great Horned Owls, like most owl species tend to concentrate on attacking the face and head.
Barred owls are smaller than the Great Horned Owl and inhabit much of the Eastern United States and Canada.
Attacks on hikers have frequently been reported.
A Barred Owl was thought to have been played a part in a bizarre, high profile murder case in the U.S in 2003. It was later found in forensic evidence that the victim was attacked in her yard by a Barred Owl. It had then become entangled in her hair. The victim ran up her stairs unable to get the owl off and then fell to her death from the second floor. The defendant, the victims husband had served a few years before it was found that she was not in fact killed using a the fireplace blow poke.