Hello everyone and thank you for your kindness and support when I went live last week.
First up, promise this will be a shorter post since the some of you are still trying to get through my first attempt.
An emu graces the Australian Coat-of-Arms for the same reason as the Kangaroo – (they can’t go backwards) so it’s only fair they get their own post. I’m making this post more like the training notes I give new foster-carers operating under licence and direction. Also, since some of you who wanted to follow me had problems finding my LIKE page on facebook so try this: http://www.facebook.com/VickiLee.AuthorFOLLOWERS?sk=wall
So let’s start with some photos, as requested. First up a predator-proof shed to sleep in overnight.
These nomads feed on grains, grass, flowers, fruit, soft shoots as well as insects, mice, grubs and even other animal dung. Farmers often don’t like them but the fact is they help with locust plagues and eat flowers off weeds which affectively stop noxious weeds from seeding and then spreading.
Once a pair of emus partner up, they mate every day for about a month. Every three or so days, the female lays one 500gr dark greeny/blue egg. After the seventh egg, the male becomes broody and sits on the eggs. For the next eight weeks he won’t eat, drink or even take a toilet break. He’ll lose up to a third of his body weight as he uses up accumulated fat, but he won’t budge. His partner will go about freely and mate with other males, sometimes adding to the original nest, other times, she may have three males sitting. The male will even adopt a stray chick if it’s around the same age as his own and needs no special attention which takes away from his primary care of his own brood. He will protect his brood, teach them what’s safe to eat and play chasing games to help them build speed to avoid predators.
Couldn’t load a one minute video here, so put it on Youtube: Take a look – I called the first video – The Call because it reminded me of how some authors celebrate getting the call from an agent/editor. I’m sure this is where the term doing a happy dance originated.
Curiosity defines these flightless birds and they will investigate anything unusual they come across. In older times, aborigines used this trait to trap them. One man might kick his legs in the air for example, and the others would jump the emu which came to investigate up close. Sometimes you see people with one arm held straight up in the air and making a ducks beak with their fingers to make themselves seem taller (to discourage the emu investigation) They eat a lot and grow fast.
Wildlife rescued file notes:
We got a call to go help five emu chicks orphaned when a redneck shot their father for a bit of sport. What can I say? These men must have had mothers. These men vote. Some women will see them as a good breeding partner. What I’d say to all sportsman shooters is that they should go to Iraq and shoot at things which shoot back. That’s my idea of true sportsmanship, if you’re that way inclined.
The chicks were the size of an average chicken on arrival and grew from about a kilo each on arrival to 15-18kg ten weeks later. We released them at about 30-35kg each some six months later. On a nice property with a creek running through it and a huge National park. They needed to be moved in a horse trailer and you can see the size of one although its a bit dark in there.
They all refused to come out so we hung around collecting seed while they checked it out for a few hours before leaving them. Friends on the property told us the emus opted to cruise the edge of the highway – under the power lines (where bird droppings sprout) rather than go deeper into the National Park.
That’s my under-800-words post, folks.
As always I’m happy to respond to comments/questions and if you hate commenting, please hit the like button above and let me know you’re enjoying my posts without having to make a comment.
Until next post, take care and be well.