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RE: Kickboxing Cassowary

What I love about wedgies is the NAME. Of course, some of the time one
actually refers to the great and powerful Oz aerial predator with its
imposing full title of "Wedge-tailed Eagle" (_Aquila audax_ to the erudite),
but normally it cops this squeaky little diminutive that suggests something
close to, but a tad less substantial than a 'budgie' (budgerigah,
_Melopsittacus undulatus_).

On the other hand, as far as I am aware, Australian kids do not give each
other 'wedgies' in the school playground. Not by that name, anyhow.

Dr John D. Scanlon, FCD
Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Outback at Isa
"Get this $%#@* python off me!", said Tom laocoonically.
-----Original Message-----
From: Colin McHenry [mailto:cmchenry@westserv.net.au] 
Sent: 08 October, 2008 1:26 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: Kickboxing Cassowary

I've seen a pair of wedgies take on a pair of sea eagles.. the sea 
eagles bugged out pretty much as soon as they could.

Out west, you hear stories of wedge-tails taking adult roos. One version 
I heard, the eagle gets the roo to 'escape' across open ground, and  
then repeatedly hits its back and rear, slashing it with the hind claws. 
I'm not sure if this has ever been documented, though - nowadays, I 
would expect the eagles to be living off road kill (plenty of that). On 
one field trip, one of the guys had been for a hike over to some nearby 
hills and reckoned a wedgie had been checking him out (he's not prone to 
exaggeration). Not a particularly comforting thought.

Eric's story seems reminiscant of the attitude of our crocs as well - 
just mean tempered. But at least we don't have to do field work with 
bears around...

Dann Pigdon wrote:
> Maybe they're used to being the largest things in the Australian sky, and
don't have any concept of 
> something 'bigger'. I don't think there've been any larger flying animals
in Australia for as long as 
> wedge-tails have been in residence (correct me if I'm wrong there).
> Wedge-tails regularly patrol the borders of their territories, making a
point of being seen by eagles 
> in adjacent territories. Anything large that violates their territorial
space (that isn't their mate) may 
> trigger territorial fighting behaviour.

Colin McHenry
Computational Biomechanics Research Group http://www.compbiomech.com/
School of Engineering (Mech Eng)
University of Newcastle
NSW 2308

t: +61 2 4921 8879