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Re: Phorusrhacids killing large mammals in National Geographic Channel

On Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 10:56:05AM -0700, Erik Boehm scripsit:
> > Predators are behaviourally limited by what has been demonstrated to
> > them when they are learning how to hunt; there's evidence of this
> > for pretty much everything exothermic.  (Don't know about crocs and
> > monitors.)  You get peregrines in the middle of a grouse moor
> > preferentially eating ducks, you get house cats that have no idea
> > how to take small songbirds because no one ever showed them as
> > kittens, 
> I have to disagree. Cats that have never been outside the house will
> show intense interest in birds they see, and will attempt to capture
> them. They often don't seem to know quite what to do after that
> though.


Domestic cats can learn to hunt on their own only if a human is feeding
them, so they don't starve while they're learning.  It's not unknown for
momma cat to know how to hunt and teach kittens who get adopted and live
as indoor cats, for that matter.

> But they still end up killing and often eating the birds.
> After all they will chase laser dots, stuff hanging from strings,etc.
> If it is small and moving, they will try to sneak up on it and pounce
> or give chase.

Rustling noises, too.  But competence at hunting requires teaching, or a
long learning experience with a subsidized food supply.

-- Graydon