Bird bounces golf ball—for fun?

This is said to be a Brazilian bird (please identify the species), and it sure looks to me as if it’s playing, though, I suppose, one could say it’s trying to crack what it thinks are eggs. (The velocity of hurling, however, seems to great for that.) Birders—any guesses?

h/t: Ant

38 Comments

  1. Luke Hunter
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jerry
    The species is red-legged seriema, I think.

    Never seen that behaviour
    Cheers
    Luke

  2. GBJames
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I say it is trying to get dinner. “What a bouncy egg!”

    • Kevin
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Dinner, but fun.

  3. Michael Day
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Could this be near the coast? Perhaps the bird thinks they are clams of some sort?

  4. Todd J Morgan
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I think birds are smarter than we give them credit. I doubt he thinks they’re eggs.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes. But let me tell you about the cuckoo…

  5. Todd J Morgan
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Seems something those birds just like doing.

    • SA Gould
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      WEIT readers are awesome!

  6. rickflick
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been know to do this myself. I wouldn’t deny anyone the pleasure – not even this bird.

  7. BobTerrace
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    “Hey! Who hard boiled these eggs?!”

  8. Merilee
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    They certainly know to do it on the hard surface.

  9. Posted August 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    “Killing their prey may involve beating the animal on the ground, or throwing it against a hard surface such as a rock.”

    From here: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/Birds/Facts/fact-redlegseriema.cfm

  10. Posted August 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Throwing things sharply at the ground is how seriemas kill their prey. Take a look here:

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Maybe it is both play and predatory. Our cats and d*gs do exactly the same thing, play-killing their toys.

      • pali
        Posted August 17, 2016 at 1:47 am | Permalink

        Hell, humans do the same thing too. 😉

  11. Posted August 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Red-legged Seriema trying to kill its prey!

    Eric Salzman

  12. Heather Hastie
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen a couple videos of these birds bouncing golf balls on Facebook. I don’t know what it’s all about, but they seemed to be enjoying it. One went on for some time.

    • Draken
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Face it, we have a club here with a 10-year waiting list for new members, and this bird can get away with it for free! He must be chuckling his feathery arse off.

      • SA Gould
        Posted August 16, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        So bird is deliberately mocking the golfers? Fun1

  13. Draken
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Definitely a Birdy.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 4:18 am | Permalink

      Definitely not an eagle or albatross.

  14. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I like how the bird puts it’s head really low to the pavement to start off so that there is a lot of force behind the bounce!

    Could be both business and pleasure – a way for the bird to crack things like clams or what not that turned out to be useful in enjoying bouncy balls!

  15. Damien
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if some dinosaurs killed their preys with that move.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 16, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Clearly some do!

  16. John Harshman
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Seriemas are cool for several other reasons:

    1. They are probably the closest living relatives of the extinct terror birds, phorusrhacids.

    2. They are the New World equivalents of the African secretary birds.

    3. They were part of the dismembered, wastebasket order Gruiformes, and are now recognized as relatives of falcons, parrots, and songbirds.

  17. Posted August 16, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    The fact that it’s a predatory behavior certainly doesn’t rule out it’s being fun.

  18. grasshopper
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I have seen a Whistling Kite “playing” with a bolus of horse shit. It grabbed the bolus from the ground, rose some distance and then dropped it, repeating the cycle many times until it spotted yours truly lurking in the bushes. Or maybe it was my olfactory emanations which gave the game away.

    After the kite flew off I examined the ground for what I assumed would be a tennis ball,
    but could only find dried up horse crap.

  19. Jim Sweeney
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I once watched a pigeon on the beach apparently playing with a penny. It would peck around in the sand, then pick up the penny and fling it sideways, over and over.

  20. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    That’s an impressive bounce!

    Auckland Zoo had some keas once (a large New Zealand parrot, famous for its often-destructive curiosity). They were, I think temporarily, in a large concrete-floored cage. There were some small logs maybe 3″ diameter and 9″ long in the cage, and three or four keas were ganging up to roll a log across the cage floor and back repeatedly.

    cr

  21. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 16, 2016 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know the species, but he looks to have about a 12 handicap.

  22. Dominic
    Posted August 17, 2016 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    On Sunday afternoon I watched a family (?) of about ten crows in Regents Park London, & one was playing with a gull’s feather, poking it through a fence. I cannot help thinking it is behaviour stimulated by nest material gathering ‘instincts’.

    • Larry Cook
      Posted August 18, 2016 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      It’s called a “Murder” of crows. Truly.

      • Posted August 18, 2016 at 2:29 am | Permalink

        I saw a picture of two crows with the caption “Attempted murder”.

  23. Posted August 17, 2016 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    I often see ravens dropping chestnuts on the road, thereby breaking them. Looks like the same kind of behavior, maybe with a “WTF”? attached.

  24. Kenneth Sanders
    Posted August 17, 2016 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Seriema

  25. Posted August 17, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    300+ million years of difference … an interesting exercise in comparative psychology. (Not as bad as the folks who work on cephalopods, though!)

    Though, to be fair, it is a test case in convergent evolution that science fiction writers might want to think through! 😉

  26. eric
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Based on other viewer’s very insightful comments, I’d guess its BOTH fun and a shell-cracking instinct.

    The birds born with instincts to enjoy this behavior would practice it more than those who didn’t. They’d get better at it. If it was a behavior that regularly got them food, the birds with the ‘instinct to enjoy it’ would outcompete the birds without that instinct, leaving more kids who would in turn be more successful, etc…

    And the end of this process is birds who enjoy bouncing balls, just as cats enjoy chasing mice and many animals (including humans) enjoy sex. Because all else being equal, the ones who like to do it a lot will outcompete the ones who don’t.

  27. davgar
    Posted August 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Our D*g does something similar. She even takes tennis balls to slopes and drops them down so she can chase them.
    I have never seen a d*g do this, but perhaps others have. I would love to know.


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