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Re: therapod behavior




On Thu, 1 Sep 2005, W. F. Zimmerman, wfzimmerman.com wrote:
> In a recent trip to the Detroit Zoo I saw a great illustration of therapod
> behavior.  The Detroit Zoo lets peacocks roam free in the visitor areas,
> including the outdoor cafeteria (yuck).  These are pretty substantial
> creatures -- they must weigh 20 or 30 pounds and their feathers are close to
> a man's height when displayed.  
> 
> My son dropped part of his sandwich making a fairly large spill of crumbs
> and the nearest peacock went for it -- and so did about ten small birds,
> maybe swallows.  What was fascinating was that the smaller birds had a very
> precise algorithm that determined how much risk they would take to get a
> crumb.  There was an invisible cone pointing downward from the peacock's
> head and tracing an ellipse on the ground, maybe 18 inches away from the
> peacock's feet -- its "strike distance".  The smaller birds would approach
> right up to the edge of the peacock's strike distance, but not an inch
> further.  It made me think this must be exactly how smaller dinosaurs dealt
> with scavenging around the large carnivores.

If the peacock's attention was directed to one area, did any of the
smaller birds on the other side take advantage and dash in?