Saturday, November 10, 2012

Can an eagle kill a cow?

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2012/11/10/raptors-kill-hominids-kill-cattle-kill-giant-moa/.
One of the debated points in ornithology is whether raptors can carry off large prey, even small human children.  As Darren Naish points out in this brief note, they can certainly kill large animals. I didn't know the berkut (golden eagle) of Russia had been trained to kill wolves, or that there are records of its American cousin killing cattle (although obviously not flying off with them.)
The most famous and bizarre story of this type is the 1970 report that two large eagles of unknown type, apparently escaped or released exotics from another continent, attacked 70-lb Marlon Lowe of Illinois, and one actually got him off the ground.  As crazy as it seems, this event seems to have been real - the clawed boy and his torn clothing were evidence - though I do wonder if the part about actually lifting the child and starting to carry him off before dropping him was a product of the two panicked human witnesses (Lowe and his mother) perceiving things to be even scarier than they were.  This would mean Lowe was running as one or both eagles grabbed him and slashed at him, and but his feet may have only momentarily been off the ground. (I will note that Lowe's mother has denied she could have been mistaken on this point, but the physics don't seem to allow for any other answer.)  While most accounts of eagles lifting smaller children have been dismissed as folktales, a couple were well-attested and might have happened.

10 comments:

Clark said...

Actually, the Lowe's have always insisted the supposed bird lifted him by the straps of his A-shirt type of undershirt. Then this is obviously phony.
Then their house already had black silhouettes of big birds on it before the incident casting doubt on the whole matter. This remains one of the worst cryptozoology fakes of all times!

Matt Bille said...

Really. I had always been under the impression this event was pretty well attested. I hadn't heard about bird silhouettes on the house! An important reminder, I guess, to be careful about what we accept. I'll be on the lookout to learn more. Thanks.

Clark said...

Really on both. I carefully ascertained these facts and am a serious student of cryptozoology, having studied your two books and all your newsletters. In fact, I am a sympathetic critic of cryptozoology who does not accept the Patterson-Gimin film. At the moment I do not have handy the exact sources but I think both were actually from the great proponent of this case, Lauren Coleman. The birds were painted in black on the house.

Clark said...

I am reluctant to bring up ad hominem criticisms. However, they are sometimes necessary. It seems to be generally accepted by the best sources that Marlon was short tempered and apt to get in fights. This would explain the evidence you mention of physical harm. The same sources cast abundant doubt on the credibility of the witnesses.

khalid abou said...

See these predator eagles take down an Grizzly, Kangaroo,Wild Cat,Sloth,Wolf,Deer and tries to snatch a Man.
Top 7 Best Eagle Attacks (GRIZZLY,KANGAROO...& MAN) HD
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwTul9-HGu8

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

Good videos.
I must say that the objection raised often by professional zoologists, that eagles cannot lift anything more than their weight is obviously absurdly illogical and unlikely. It is illogical because there is nothing magical about double their body weight.

khalid abou said...

Best Eagle Attacks Ever
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja8l9OV9cs4

khalid abou said...

See these predator eagles take down an Grizzly, Kangaroo,Wild Cat,Sloth,Wolf,Deer and a Man

- Top 7 Best Eagle Attacks (GRIZZLY,KANGAROO...& MAN) HD -official video-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZKDvvLCcuY

eagle attack! Best Compilation Ever [HD]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja8l9OV9cs4

Matt Bille said...

Thanks, all!

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

https://weather.com/science/nature/video/eagle-tries-to-snatch-boy

This is a sizable boy who the eagle boldly trues to lift by his hoodie.