News Round-up

Recent news items of interest:

Newsday reports redwinged blackbirds dive-bombing people in Chicago. (Scroll down to the third item.) Many bird species launch similar attacks. Some attacks are simply territorial, while others are meant to protect hatchlings. Humans are not the only victims of this mobbing behavior—dogs, cats, birds of prey, and others may also be attacked. I often pass a certain redwinged blackbird on my morning walks who objects to my presence. Clearly I come too near a nest, though I haven’t figured out exactly where it is so I can avoid it. So far the bird is content to merely threaten me. I’ll let you know if he gets physical.

Crows have been up to the same thing in Seattle. An article in the Post-Intelligencer offers some good background on the habituation of wild animals to humans, including coyotes and bears.

In Neosho, Missouri, a black leopard came scratching at the back door of a home. The resident wisely called for help. The deputy who responded to the call had to kill the cat when it charged him. Leopards are not native to the Americas. This one may be an escaped pet. Captive cats are a growing problem in the US.

Near Pinos Altos, New Mexico, a cougar killed a man who lived alone in a trailer. Law enforcement officers wounded the cat to drive it away from the missing man’s trailer. They later found his remains in the woods. This was a predatory attack. Here's another article about it.

Fox attacks are in the news again, this time in South Carolina.

Here’s an interesting article about the danger hybrid carnivores pose for livestock in Australia.

In Lubbock, Texas, bees swarmed a family of five in their home. One child suffered more than 30 stings.

The Salt Lake Tribune has advice about dealing with dangerous wildlife in Utah. The bear advice applies to black bears, not to the grizzlies people might encounter in other areas. Playing dead sometimes works with grizzlies because they often attack for reasons other than hunger, such as defense of cubs and a touchy territorial sense. Black bears seldom attack, but when they do, it’s usually because they mean to eat you.

In Florida, a young man lost an arm to an alligator after an ill-advised late-night swim. This was yet another instance of how poorly alcohol and crocodilians mix. Here’s an interesting commentary on the event.

In Kenya, an elderly man died after defending his adult son from a hyena attack. The son was also injured.

Here’s an article about the incursion of lionfish into Florida waters. Lionfish have venomous spines that can hurt people who step on or handle them. It should be noted that alarmist stories about impending animal “invasions” are a staple of news reports. The dire consequences you read about in such stories rarely materialize.

MSNBC has a follow-up story about a man who was mauled by a grizzly a few weeks ago in British Columbia.

In South Korea, wild boars and people have been in conflict. The boars have killed livestock and people and destroyed crops.

In Arizona, a javelina bit a tourist.

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