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Predator versus prey: in this installment, we analyze three attack-escape scenarios involving bird predators and their prey. One is the climbing flight escape, another is horizontal speeding, and thirdly, there is turning and diving to avoid capture. Predator and prey attack-escape behavior is another outcome of the evolutionary arms race. There is something about birds of prey that make us pay attention – maybe it is the inherent fear we all have that one will attack us – or perhaps it is just because they are seldom seen by most westerners. Regardless, birds of prey are fascinating, and in this episode, we examine some of the largest, mightiest, and most spectacular raptors from around the world. We’ll watch with fascination the Eagle, a large bird of prey that is a skilled hunter and highly efficient killer. These elegant predators do their best work in large open spaces, where they can fly high and see for miles and miles. Meanwhile, the fastest living animal on land, sea, or sky is also a bird of prey. The peregrine falcon can be found from the arctic to the tropics, and for centuries has been a symbol of prestige. At the other end of the scale is a bird that strips a carcass down to its skeleton in search of a meal. The presence of a vulture is often seen as a sign of impending doom. But it’s a case of whatever gets you through: the vulture, too, is just trying to stay one step ahead in the race of life.
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