Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Useful Birds of Prey

Selectively bred birds of prey for recreational purposes
  [vote for,

The Bald Eagle can currently carry 4 pounds (1.81 kilograms for the real world) about 60 metres in a straight line (Snow, C. 1973. Habitat Management Series for Endangered Species. Bureau of Land Management Report No. 5. Southern Bald Eagle and Northern Bald Eagle. Technical Note TN-171.)

Average weight of a newborn baby is 7 pounds (University of Utah Health Science Centre, 2001)

5 eagles can carry 20 pounds, or 9.07 kgs. We'll assume they can lift that the same length. Given that they would lift the object upwards, not being a physicist or indeed someone inclined to strain the lifting power of eagles to any length, we'll say that the eagles could lift in tandem the 20 pound object 30 metres upwards.

Given that by the end of the second year of a newborn's life they have quadrupled in weight, an average child would weigh 28 pounds. Diet has an effect on this of course, along with the racial and genetic make up of the child in question. But we're talking averages here. (linky)

Anabolic steroids alone would see an increase in size, muscle mass and overall efficiency in the animals, however it is really a temporary measure and wouldn't significantly alter the avian for our purposes.

While I hesitate to mention selective breeding, it does appear to be the most overall efficient way to increase the size and capabilities of the avian involved without tampering hormonally or other such. To begin, I'll point out the difference between the almost pre-historic but still extant horse found in Mongolia (standing 128cm at the withers) and with the common Clydesdale horse (standing roughly two metres tall at the withers) - 36% larger than the Mongolian horse. We'll assume that the lifting/pulling capacity is at least increased by the same percentage, given that I was unable to find the stats for the Mongolian horse to compare with that of the Clydesdale. (Various sources. Have a look at google.)

Applying the same principle to the eagle, we could see an increase in its lifting capacity by 36% (approximately a third) given a selective breeding program and sufficient time. That would give a single eagle the lifting capacity of 2.5 kilograms (approx.) and the group of five eagles the lifting capacity of 10 kilograms, or approx. 28 pounds.

Why would anyone want larger eagles that can lift 2.5 kgs each?


Ever been shopping, and behind you is that whining kid? You know the one. It screams. It begs. It whines. It demands lollies (or candy, given your nationality) or that Action Man figure. It squeals, grunts and otherwise makes a range of sounds commonly attributed to a pig being tortured or a kraken with constipation.

Ever been walking in the park, only to be harassed by something not so much a dog but a rat on a leash? The tiny thing yapping at you as if you have bacon in your pants (hey, who am I to judge if you do, right?) while the owner looks on fatuously at its yipping rodent with nothing but a beam on its face and the cry of the stupid "Ohinnitcute"?

The enlarged eagles are what you need. Given how well an eagle (and indeed other birds of prey) can be trained, wouldn't it be worth it to see the whining child carried to the top of a 30mtr building and left there by a majestic flock of enlarged eagles? Perhaps you'd like to see that little hairy rat taken far away - perhaps the big cat enclosure at your local zoo - never to pester you again?

We need less focus on such piddling little problems like cola wars and how many licks does it take to get to the centre of a tootsie roll. We need enlarged lifting eagles.

Freelancer, Jun 15 2003

Average growth rate of children http://kidshealth.o...owth_2_to_3_p2.html
[Freelancer, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Thunderbird http://www.100megsf...arshores/ctbird.htm
Big enough. [bungston, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Baby Goes For Ride http://gawker.com/5969658
EDIT, 2012: THAT'S RIGHT BITCHES [Freelancer, Dec 19 2012]

watch the above link first to get context. http://www.youtube....watch?v=vnCrEATwdPE
money shot, zoomed/stabilized [FlyingToaster, Dec 20 2012]


       Well at least you've done some research!   

       I wouldn't mind some of these to help me with my groceries.
madradish, Jun 15 2003

       Ohinnitcute - watches helplessly as eagle snatches bun from grasp.
thumbwax, Jun 15 2003

       it all makes sense really when storks bring 'em in the first place.
po, Jun 15 2003

       The next step from killer bees and killer dogs.
FarmerJohn, Jun 15 2003

       The eagles you have in mind.... are they African or European?
Jinbish, Jun 15 2003

       "Blue... no, no! Wait! Yellooooowwww..."
Freelancer, Jun 15 2003


       5 annos to Monty Python.
It beats Kevin Bacon into a cocked hat
gnomethang, Jun 15 2003

       Mmm. Bacon.
Freelancer, Jun 15 2003

       Eagles schmeagles. What you want is an Andean condor.
bungston, Jun 15 2003

       I have a vague memory of reading about a chicken being raised in a centrifuge to simulate a higher-gravity environment, with the result that its physiology adapted and made it grow larger muscles and suchlike. This technique could perhaps be used as an alternative or in addition to steriods and selective breeding to enlarge the birds.
karunai, Jun 15 2003

       If we could just teach Ostriches to fly.   

       And there was much rejoicing.   

       I'll take two dozen.   

       Suggested title: "Even more useful birds of prey". After all, they already predate rabbits etc.
8th of 7, Jun 16 2003

       They could grip the child by the husk.
EvolutionKills, Jun 16 2003

       How about golden eagles? Or Osprey if we're trying to stay with the mid-size SUV range of raptors? I think that either of these could probably kick some major bald eagle tail in the american ornithologist caber toss. Or how about making gyrocopter-type eagles? Give em a little helicoptor rotor on a harness so that you still have a trainable platform for lifting but with an extra boost. "Yeah, flying Japanese Sand Tigers, that's the ticket..."
EvolutionKills, Jun 16 2003

       No no no. Cruel treatment of these majestic animals, sorry. Bones away.
waugsqueke, Jun 16 2003

       Could the eagles be trained to rescue people from burning buildings? No horizontal transport required, just flap the wings hard enough to dampen the impact.   

       In their spare time the eagles would of course be encourage to train with little obnoxious kids. Crossbreed them (the eagles, not the kids) with golden retrievers and they (the eagles, not the kids) may even consider it fun.
kbecker, Jun 16 2003

       Or how about a trained falcon that fetches beer and women's undergarments?
roby, Jun 16 2003

       Would the undergarments still have the women in them?
kbecker, Jun 17 2003

       At last! (see links)
Freelancer, Dec 19 2012

       ^ AHH HAHAHAHAHAHA : I don't know which is more amazing [Freelancer]: the link, or you remembering your password after 9 years.
FlyingToaster, Dec 19 2012

       Actually, wonder of wonders, I remember the password.   

       It took a while, though, not going to lie >_>
Freelancer, Dec 20 2012


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