NOT A SITTING DUCK

One does not often come across a male Ostrich sitting down in the middle of the day. This one didn’t move as we drew to a halt near it.

Apart from straightening its neck – as if to say “I am on the alert and know you are there” – it remained still and looked ahead. So did we. All was quiet except for the faint rustling of the wind over the dry grass in the open veld. The ostrich looked ahead. We looked at the ostrich. Was it, perhaps, doing egg duty during the day? Where was its mate then? The females usually sit on the eggs during the day and the males take over the duty at night – at least that is what common wisdom tells us. At last the ostrich deigned to turn its head to look straight at us.

“Is it any of your business to know what I am doing?” The expression was not particularly friendly. “Haven’t you got other things to do?” Then he stood up and walked away a short distance – not an egg in sight.

“Sometimes a chap simply needs to sit and think”, he seemed to say. He drew himself up to his full height – which is considerable – fluffed his fine feathers and continued his amble through the veld.

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51 thoughts on “NOT A SITTING DUCK

  1. Such spectacular animals. We once came across an irritable male ostrich while on safari close to the Kruger, and he decided he didn’t want us in his territory. The jeep we were in was chased for a considerable distance and the ostrich’s turn of speed (and size) was really something.

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    • I was four when I met an ostrich for the first time at the Johannesburg Zoo. I recall my father picking me up and telling me to hold my hand very flat so that the ostrich could nibble the peanuts he put there for me. The memory of that tickling feeling remains with me.

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    • It was fun to see one close to the road. As I mentioned to Sandra, male ostriches have black feathers covering their back and sides (hence he sits on eggs at night) and the female has light brown feathers, which helps to camouflage her sitting on eggs during the day.

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  2. Beautiful specimen. They have prettier faces than emus. They look less aggressive even though they are bigger! Although my husband has been chased by an ostrich before!

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  3. I’ve never seen an ostrich, just in photos and I didn’t realize they were so large. What a surprise if you ran into one of these big birds. We had a runaway emu yesterday in our area. I think they are similar, but smaller than an ostrich. It was someone’s pet and it’s not the first time it escaped. The emu walked up to someone in their backyard – he turned around and saw it. I’d be startled, but he said he went into the house and got some corn for it and called the police so the owners could round it up.

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