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1 March 2015 A Most Dangerous Game: Death and Injury to Birds from Porcupine Quills
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Predation is dangerous, not only for the prey but sometimes also for the predator. Because these dangers to predators are not well understood, we document evidence of predation or scavenging by a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) on a North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) in Pennsylvania, USA, with potentially lethal consequences to the eagle. We also review published literature on incidence of porcupine quills causing injury or death to birds. At least nine species have been documented as having contact with porcupine quills. A minimum of 39% of these interactions resulted in death to the bird, demonstrating the risk birds face when interacting with porcupines. Predation of porcupines should be selected against and irregular, yet it apparently persists and is likely more common than currently recognized.

2015 by the Wilson Ornithological Society
Todd Katzner, Tricia A. Miller, Jane Rodrigue, and Steven Shaffer "A Most Dangerous Game: Death and Injury to Birds from Porcupine Quills," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 127(1), 102-108, (1 March 2015).
Received: 30 April 2014; Accepted: 1 September 2014; Published: 1 March 2015

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