April 14, 2019

"A Florida man was killed on Friday by what ornithologists say is the 'world’s most dangerous bird'" — the cassowary.

"The man, who police identified as Marvin Hajos, 75, owned the farm where the cassowary was located and the incident took place... Hajos fell, they said, and the bird had attacked him.... A woman who identified herself as Hajos’ fiance told the Gainsville Sun 'he was doing what he loved.'... Cassawaries look like a high-fashion dinosaur; thick black feathers cover their bodies, from which a cobalt blue and vibrant red neck erupts, leading to a head adorned with a keratin 'casque,' or crest. What makes them dangerous however, are their feet. Three toes sport pointed nails, the most dangerous of which is the middle, which ends in a veritable dagger several inches long.... But cassowaries...  tend to be reclusive... In the wild, they hide deep in the rain forests, but will occasionally encounter humans when they come across a road or neighborhood....  'At no time, ever, do we ever go in with the cassowary,' [said said Eric Slovak, assistant curator of birds at the National Zoo in Washington, 'Not because they’re mean, but because we know how dangerous they could be if they got spooked for any reason.... I would not understand why anyone would want to keep a cassowary as a pet.'"

From "A man kept one of the ‘world’s most dangerous’ birds on his farm. Then it killed him" (WaPo).



ADDED: There's that phrase again — he died "doing what he loved." I've written about that many times over the years. Perhaps the first time was June 4, 2006 — "The artist drops dead at his drawing table":
Dying at the drawing table -- how often does that happen? Many times, when someone has died, I have heard the claim made that the person died doing what he loved, and it usually seems to be a sad search for something positive to say. But here was [Alex] Toth, 77 years old and in failing health, still immersed in his life's work.... If I drop dead next to my laptop, be sure to link to this post and say you know what.

41 comments:

clint said...

The velociraptors have been hiding in plain sight, covered in feathers, all these millions of years, just waiting for their moment.

And to think, some people were worried about the cows.

Rob said...

Cassowaries are flightless birds, so at least we know the perp is not a flight risk.

stephen cooper said...

I have never owned a cassowary, but I was almost killed by a lap dog once (a lap dog, in this case, was a small terrier, or a schnauzer or long haired dachshund mix).

Poor thing had bad arthritis,and as an act of kindness, I once picked up the dog from the floor (I was sitting on a couch) where it seemed a little uncomfortable ---- I was, hoping to give it a more comfortable berth (on the soft couch, instead of on the hard floor). Unfortunately, I did not realize that, even if I carefully picked up the poor creature, I would cause it pain.

Well it lashed out. Apparently it knew that the best way to send a message is to attack the jugular - I am not being rhetorical, the dog went right for my neck and bit down as hard as he could as close as he could to the jugular vein.

I lost a coffee cup worth of blood all over the couch in the first fifteen seconds but fortunately I did not panic. Apparently the loss of blood was not due to a complete major breach but to a minor but significant breach which, in part because I instantly tried to calm down, corrected itself. I applied a thick cloth to the wound and the spurting blood almost miraculously stopped. Had I reacted with anger instead of calmness I would now be dead!

The poor little dog was instantly horrified at what it had done and so I soothingly said, wondering if I had lost enough blood to pass out : "Is OK, Is OK" - a phrase I often used with the poor creature when it was in pain and I was trying to soothe its discomfort.

I never once blamed the dog, intense pain is difficult for any creature who experiences it, I guess.

mockturtle said...

Arteries spurt, veins flow.

EDH said...

One word: machete.

Big Mike said...

Nelson Rockefeller apparently died doing what he liked best.

YoungHegelian said...

"Florida man dies doing the dangerous and stupid shit that he loved."

That really is just an evergreen of a headline, isn't it?

Steven said...

"He committed suicide out of despair; he died doing what he loved."

"Huh?"

"He was an executioner upset that the death penalty was abolished."

Francisco D said...

I think that was Inga, not a cassowary.

After all, the guy was wearing a MAGA hat, wasn't he?

stephen cooper said...

mock turtle said "Arteries spurt, veins flow"\\\

- yeah I know that,

I am going to respond and says exactly what I mean because I like and respect you, mock tortoise.


Mock turtle, I often pretend to know less than I know in order to communicate. That is what humans do.

People who know more than I do pretend the same way. We are all in the same boat.

"Sit down you're rocking the boat" is one of the greatest performances of 50s technicolor musicals.

Thanks for reading!

In case anyone reading this is not a native English speaker, "going for the jugular" is a common English phrase,although 99 percent of the people who use that phrase do not know what mock turtle correctly said - arteries spurt, veins flow.

That being said, it really was a coffee cup worth of blood. Fortunately the couch was covered with a cheap quit, which we threw out, but the couch itself was salvageable and did not have any blood stains after our quick clean up.

Before the clean up, my housemate ran around in circles, perturbed, explaining that I needed to go to the emergency room.
But I didn't.
I was very healthy at the time I guess and it did not bother me much, later that evening I went to Pizza Hut and ate half a Pizza, then off to Blockbuster to rent three hours worth of recently released old "shows" or old or recent "movies". On VHS.

You, no matter who you are, probably remember more of the past than I do, but I am still glad to have so many fond memories.

mockturtle said...

Yeah, I guess 'going for the carotid' lacks panache.

Lucien said...

I thought a Cassowary was someone who calculated the odds that you will be killed by a flightless bird.

stephen cooper said...

Nothing we could do about the quilt, though.

Sad!

Earnest Prole said...

Is this more a "Florida man" than "world's most dangerous bird" story?

Yancey Ward said...

I doubt he loved dying in a bird attack.

Fernandistein said...

No birds at all are actually very dangerous to humans, so being the most dangerous bird doesn't really mean much at all.

Cassowary
"One of the most recent incidents came in 2012, when a tourist in Queensland, Australia, was kicked by a cassowary off a ledge and into a body of water but remained unharmed otherwise."

That was only seven years ago - fortunately the victim was unharmed!

"One of the most famous attacks (and the only one known to result in a confirmed death) occurred in 1926:"

That's must've been Emmett Till's grandfather.

mockturtle said...

Lucien quips: I thought a Cassowary was someone who calculated the odds that you will be killed by a flightless bird.

That made me LOL.

Humperdink said...

Timothy Treadwell died doing what he loved. Not sure about his girlfriend though.

LordSomber said...

Living near cassowaries:

https://nunyaax.blogspot.com/2010/05/birds-of-feather.html

gilbar said...

WHY are people Allowed to have these birds?
NO ONE needs a cassowary in private life.

People that think that they need birds should be required to have parakeets, or parrots
NOT THESE DANGEROUS KILLING MACHINES!

The Constitution was not written with these cassowaries in mind!

gilbar said...

i think i'd be safe to describe a severed jugular vein as Gushing

stephen cooper said...

"NO ONE needs a cassowary in private life."

Don't know why, but that makes me want one all the more.

I'd rather they were happy out in nature, but if there were one who could not make it out in the wild and needed to sleep on a cot in a spare room in my humble suburban home, and to go for walks with me in my quiet sub-tropical neighborhood (I have heard that cassowaries are tropical beasts) I would love to welcome it as a beloved family pet.

Anonymous said...

"A man kept one of the ‘world’s most dangerous’ birds on his farm. Then it killed him". A reserved yet slightly gleeful headline. WAPO swine.

Known Unknown said...

I suppose it's better than dying doing what you hated.

rcocean said...

That's one scary killing machine.

rcocean said...

He died doing what he loved.

Looking on the bright side I suppose. Sounds better than "He died doing his taxes" or "He died mowing the lawn".

Paul said...

People who do not respect dangerous things deserve what they get.

I've been around horses a fair portion of my life. They can kill you if you do something real stupid. And being aware of how, and why, they would turn on people was one of the things I learned quickly.

You guys many not know this but horses are very social... they have a pecking order, even at being fed. Don't feed them in the wrong order. The leader can (I've seen it) get real pissed off.

Anonymous said...

Birds are dinosaurs. The only surviving group of them cladistically.

Jason said...

https://youtu.be/tKq5nv9G68c WILL RAY YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD!

MB said...

Maybe, had he done what he hated, he would have lived longer.

rcocean said...

They can get up to 130 lbs. and 5-6 feet high. They're basically ostriches that live in the jungle. And like Ostriches they have powerful legs, can run up to 30 MPH, and pack quite a kick. So always be wary of the Cassowary.

rcocean said...

You guys many not know this but horses are very social... they have a pecking order, even at being fed. Don't feed them in the wrong order. The leader can (I've seen it) get real pissed off.

I think Althouse had a "Animals can be jerks" tag that would fit this.

Steven said...

No birds at all are actually very dangerous to humans, so being the most dangerous bird doesn't really mean much at all.

On the one hand, the number of deaths are few, sure.

On the other hand, a major reason cassowaries don't kill many people because they are rare and generally live apart from humans. It's still a human-weight animal armed with claw-like daggers. Make them as common and in such proximity to humans as dogs, and I suspect they'd kill in greater numbers than 28 per year (the average annual rate of dog-caused death in the US).

Nichevo said...

Is this the bird that killed the Japanese soldier in Cryptonomicon?

stephen cooper said...

Paul ..... is that true of hogs as well (that you need to feed then in pecking order)? Just asking out of curiosity, I have visited lots of farms with horses and hogs but I have never lived on one...

rcocean --- "they're basically ostriches that live in the jungle.
Yikes, anything that "lives in the jungle" can be very bad news when it is irked.

That being said, my main worry if I owned a cassowary would be mating season.

If I had a little male cassowary living most of the time in a big spare room upstairs, or out back in a fenced-in yard, I would be the only cassowary-friendly homeowner for miles around. And where would I find a female cassowary for my little male-bird friend in mating season, or vice versa?

And if the cassowary were frustrated, maybe I would end up like those people whose chimps attack them. None of whom "died doing what they loved" nobody loves it when a chimp gets violent with its former friends.

No way I would ever have a chimp living in my house, for the record, so you don't need to talk me out of it. Maybe - maybe if I were rich I would have a chimp enclosure, a big one, with lots of acres and lots of trees, far from the fences, but I am not rich, and am not likely to ever be rich, so Me and a Chimp will never share the same address.

daskol said...

Saw one once at an Australia-themed zoo, and then again a few times in the years afterwards in dreams--this creature is truly the stuff of nightmares.

daskol said...

All birds have a look in their eyes that suggest they kill (and eat) you given the chance, and this one is big enough to think it worth a shot.

Shane said...

Florida Man again

James K said...

I've read than an emu can bite the head off a dog. Presumably they could do a lot of damage to a human too.

Hunter said...

I can understand keeping chickens or turkeys; maybe even ostriches.

But it's a long way to cassowary. A long way to go.

Swede said...

He was doing what he loved.

Being killed by a cassowary.