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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

World Bird Wednesday LXXXI


Terror Birds!
    My late night reading in the early months of retirement has taken me far adrift. Having lost my moorings to the regular hours and work schedule that keeps much of the world thinking about practical matters I surf at the mercy of whimsy and chance encounters. Oh, the shocking things one stumbles across.
    I think it is human nature to trust other people, to take for granted they are what they say, that they don't have a dark past or some hidden skeleton hanging high in the family tree. Perhaps I am being a bit naive in this same way when it comes to the gentle creatures I spend so much photographing.
     Of course birds are wild animals and we should make no bones that their everyday actions consist of certain bloodthirsty behaviours that would bring you or I a life sentence in prison. Anything resembling civilised conduct in the animal kingdom is probably a hallucination brought on by our own misspent sentiments. I am weak that way. Still, imagine my shock when I discovered the evidence of a axe murderer in the fossil record!

 But let me regress about about two million years...
up to that point the landmass of South America was an island continent. The isthmus of Central America was soon to be formed by volcanic irruptions that would make a way for the vastly divergent creatures of N. and S. America to mingle. Unlike the North, where giant mammals and cats ruled the day, in the Southerly Continent avian life reigned supreme, the apex predator, Phorusrhacids, was a ten foot tall flightless bird weighing in at three hundred pounds with a massive hatchet like head used to bludgeon its prey.Terror birds indeed!
    Picture credit Ohio University.



    Terror birds dominated South America for an estimated sixty million years in various forms.  Recent fossil discoveries in Texas and Florida indicate the the arrival of TB's in North America may have even pre-dated the so called Great American Interchange of species when the continents where permanently connected by the land bridge. The mysteries abound. Imagine the Saber tooth tiger facing off against Phorusrhacids, that fight surely happened.
    It was once thought these predators became extinct about the time man arrived in the new world about ten thousand years ago, that possibly our spear technology spelt an end to them like it did so many of the Mega beasts of North America. Not guilty! Floridian fossils had become mixed with those of more recent epochs in tidal waters causing some theoretical misconceptions. Trace elements indicated these misplaced fossils where about two million years old, not ten thousand! However; no one believes we have made a discernible dent in the true history of these astonishing birds.
    What ended it all? Well, maybe it's not over yet.  The Seriemas birds of South America are thought to be the closest living relative of the ancient Terror Birds and exhibit the same grizzly technique when hunting larger prey, beating it into submission. Could the Terror Bird reemerge if fate deals our planet's current apex predator (us) a fatal blow?
    I must stop drinking coffee so late in the evening!



This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!




#1Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW. http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/


#2Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.


#3Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compatriots!

Come on it's your turn!

41 comments:

  1. you have such a great imagination, coffee-fueled or otherwise. :) i really like your header photo! even small birds can be terror birds, apparently!

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  2. WOW!!!Your Header is a stunner!!!I too think you should do away with coofee late evening:)But, I like your imaginations and your photography.Have a great day!!!

    Shantana

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  3. your coffee fueled engery brings us a wonderful read!! hmmm, i never really thought about terror birds before....i just adore anything with feathers!!

    your header is amazing, to catch two such different birds in flight. love the black with the white. really special!!

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  4. I will buy you a pot of any flavor coffee you like, if it means you will continue to explore and educate. How very interesting your Terror Bird story is. And, your pictures, as always great. I especially love the header ... I love both of those birds and you caught them in exquisite form. Thank you again and again ...

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  5. Such an interesting read, so much so I forgot to look at your photos. Drink more coffee.

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  6. Gosh, I wish coffee had that effect on me. I have to drink 2 cups just to clear my head! That was an interesting history. What is that bird in the 3rd pic down? Absolutely stunning!

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  7. I don't know about ancient terror birds, but your photos of current birds are fantastic! The header shot is awesome, too! Love how the blackbird's wings are stretched to the max! Great photos!

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  8. Ten foot tall birds...hmmmm, wonder how big the worms were? That's a smashing header!

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  9. Great and interesting post.
    Wonderful shots as always.
    Awesome shot in your header.
    Mette

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  10. Such an interesting post. And your photos leave me wanting more...your header is superb!!

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  11. Thanks for the history lesson WBW, and yes the apex predator will surely change once man destroys most of the planet in his greed.

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  12. thanks for that interesting post and love the header shot it is incredible and I also want more and more of your stories, drink more coffee!

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  13. A great serie og shots, perfect for WBW!
    Have a nice evening!

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  14. Springman, but imagine the drumsticks on that sucker! Enough to feed the family!
    Wonderful images as usual!
    Cheers

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  15. Love the header, just great!
    Now then, about those terror birds...I just did a 6 week study of creation, vs evolution, and I have some doubts about the millions of years vs only thousands, and so many more interesteing facts came about, as well as lying to rest some myths, as well as some huge fabrications done even by National Geographic's supposed studies and then corrected later, only after most of the reading world had swallowed the pill.
    It is all quite fascinating though...yes.
    I apologize for not being able to view any posts last week, I have just been way down and soon, shall be on the mend...I hope;')~

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  16. You are doing a fantastic job here, Springman. Thanks for hosting this!

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  17. Your photos of real birds are beautiful - and not frightening at all!

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  18. Fascinating info, Dave! Sometimes, when reading your post, I feel like a kid. Your nightmarish description of Terror Birds gives me the shivers. I am glad it's all so long ago. Keep on drinking coffee though and keep supplying shiver-inducing stories! Your bird pics are lovely!

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  19. Another wonderful post.. your images are always fantastic to see.

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  20. It is hard for me to imagine birds being a terror to anything. Great post and your photos are always amazing. Well done!

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  21. I agree, great bird images...Thanks for the history lesson, glad I wasn't around in those days.

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  22. Your late night sojourns into the world of the internet give you the best blog fodder to share though. :)
    Love this week's shots!

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  23. Oh, how I love the Red-winged Blackbird in that header shot!
    I'm sure glad the Blue Jays we've encouraged to come and demand peanuts from us aren't ten feet tall. They can startle enough when they come swooping in over our heads.

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  24. I guess it's always going to be the survival of the fittest in the animal kindom ... I was mortified when I learnt that Australia's beautiful Kookaburras eat pretty little blue wrens for breakfast !! Love your bird pics.

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  25. Super nice posts you always show. Wishing you a good day. Hanne Bente

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  26. How wonderful your photographs this week Springman, but also your narrative to accompany. The Terror Bird video was well produced; thanks for sharing. I think I prefer to remain blatantly naïve to terror birds in our midst.

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  27. You raise some interesting questions. Who knows the truth...but it is a fun topic to debate. Nope...I'm not going there.:)

    Super photos Dave!

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  28. Very interesting. Beautiful pictures, and thanks for sharing.

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  29. A very interesting post. I was thinking along some of the same lines when I was wondering what New Zealand would be like if it still had the moas. In fact NZ gives a window into what the world would have been like without mammals. They have parrots that live in holes in the ground and eat grass - in other words a rabbit!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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  30. What delightful(?) musings this morning! The photographs, as always, were stunning - well, except for the skeletons - and the commentary was informative and interesting! Thank you for continuing to sponsor this meme, where I am able to learn so much about winged creatures!

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  31. great post as alweys. Thanks for hosting WBW.

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  32. Interesting facts indeed. On a recent train watching venture I was horrified to see a large Crow that had stolen a baby Starling from it's nest atop a close-by abandoned building. It took the baby to the railroad tracks onto the railroad tie within 15 feet of our van where it repeatidly tore at it's tiny body, all the while a rather large flock of Starlings causing a loud racket flew back and forth trying to distract the Crow. The parents were just beside them selves, but to no advail. Mother Nature at it's worst!
    Sorry about the trouncing my Yanks gave your Tigers last week. In all, this good will be short lived I'm sure, although if the Bombers can beat up on Verlander anything is possible.
    Have a great rest of the week, and as always unbelievable pictures you take. Can't wait to see what next week will bring!

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  33. Thanks for sharing the story of those birds!What a world to live in back in those days.
    Beautiful pictures ,as always,the grosbeaks did not stop at my feeder this year that I could see,maybe they`ll stop on their way back through in Sept.
    Thanks for having us,phyllis

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  34. I think I'm gonna need a Bigger Sling Shot !!!

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  35. Wonderful images as always!! And the header is brilliant. Thanks for the information too. Your blog never disappoints. Thanks also for hosting WBW!

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  36. Great write up Dave. Love the header photo of the Great Egret and Red-winged Blackbird too! Also, thanks to the great NatGeo link. Interesting stuff!

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  37. Great header photo!
    The link to my blogpost doesn't seem to work normal this time. Is the same happening to others, mayby? My blogpost first opens without my normal page layout and with my picture in a very small scale. I have tryed a couple of times to link over again, but the very same happens. This does not happen from other preset links.

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  38. What gruesome tales you conjure up, interspersed with beautiful present day bird shots.
    Thank you for my undeserved compliment for a couple of hand-held flukes.

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  39. Thanks for the story. Quite interesting. Did you manage to get that collection of fossils to photograph? That would be an impressive feat.
    cheers.

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