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Re: Phorusrhacids killing large mammals in National Geographic Channel
How "robust" is the immune system of an Osterich, or the immune system of birds
I recently had a bird (a Budgie/parakeet) for all of 1 day after it was rescued
from my cats mouth shortly after the cat caught it.
The bird appeared fine, no blood could be seen (it may have had some cuts under
ruffled feathers) - it was very active- eating, preening, climbing on the side
of the cage, it appeared fine up to a few hours after the attack - it had only
a few ruffled feathers, which it preened.
No detactable blood loss, no broken bones, no visible wounds,
Hours later it just sat on a perch and didn't move much. By the morning it was
dead at the bottom of the cage (all the pet shops were closed- it was the 4th
of july, couldn't get antibiotics or give it to someone more capable of caring
Apparently these birds are considered doomed from minor abrasions caused by
cats - their immune system appears to be too weak to fend off an infection from
a superficial cut, or at least a bite.
Is it likely a Phorusrhacid would be similarly doomed by a defensive bite from
If so, it would seem unlikely it would attack larger prey that could break its
skin, or prey it couldn't quickly dispatch with a single strike.
I would think attacking with the feet would increase the possibility of
infection from a defensive wound, as I would think the horny sheathed beak
would be much more resistant to infection from a scratch than scaly feet.