Man killed by large, exotic bird in Alachua County

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after deputies say a man was killed by one of his exotic birds.

Investigators believe the man may have been breeding Cassowaries, which some consider the most dangerous bird in the world.

The Cassowary’s claws look like daggers, which can grow up to 4.5 inches. They can’t fly, but they have a powerful kick.

“They are definitely capable of doing some damage,” said Mike Taylor, curator or herps, birds and others at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Deputies say Marvin Hajos, 75, was possibly breeding the birds. 

On Friday, first responders were called to his Alachua County home for a medical emergency.

Investigators say one of the Cassowaries attacked him. 

Hajos was taken to the hospital, but later died.

“The animals have that potential,” Taylor said.

He went on to say the birds are territorial and protective of their young.

“At the Jacksonville Zoo we have protocol, we never go in with our Cassowary,” he said.

Neighbor Harry Garner says he was well aware Hajos had exotic animals. He can hear them.

“This is just like what you would hear if you were at Busch Gardens or somewhere,” Garner said.

He told the News Station that he’s been concerned about the birds being so close to his home for years.

“I feel that bird can hop over that fence, come over here and attack my kids while were at the playground or just enjoying my yard,” Garner said. “It’s nervous living next to something like that - that just took someone’s life – you know?”

It’s still unclear what will happen to the birds. Investigators say they’re still trying to figure out what led up to the attack.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are investigating.