Captivating Baby Ostrich Runegades
Even Baby Ostriches Can’t Fly
So, the reason for the heading above is “run.” Because run is what they have to do to get away from predators. Seeing it’s springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, these guys are hot-footing it all over the place around us, getting new shoots after a fairly good early rain.
Predators… what predators? Actually, the parents are very proficient in protecting their young. If you have ever heard an ostrich roar or seen a shredded and trampled predator, you will know that these birds can cope a whole lot better than one can ever imagine.
You say roar and I say yes, roar… As a young man growing up in the wild Lowveld bush, there were no ostriches around. So, one morning early on holiday at a friend’s place in the Cape, I heard a roar right behind me that had all my hair almost standing on end. While still airborne to take cover, I heard laughter from a group of breakfast revellers that had them rolling on the floor. Looking back, at the back of my chair and very unimpressed, I realize the joke was on me.
There, peeking over my chair, was a male ostrich – which I am sure was grinning – curiously eyeing me out. I was not left wondering about the roar very long, when my host blurted out that it was the ostrich that roared. In case you think I’m a “chicken,” I will let you know that this “bird” at close quaters ROARS LOADER than a black maned lion and in the same manner.
So now you know one of their defences and I can assure you it’s very effective. This bird is first of all no pantywaist and no lightweight to boot, tipping the scales at over 300 lbs. (150 kg). And also don’t forget its speed at more than a cool 40 mph (70 kph). If you ever get a chance to see a George or Port Elizabeth hospital report on ostrich attacks, you will perfectly understand how effective this animal is in defending its young and itself.
Or better still, ask the most accomplished wildlife hunters in their territory, the Koi San (bushman) people who give this bird a wide berth. Also in their district, the Kalahari lion is the biggest and most aggressive lion in the world and it gives way to any large male ostrich, especially with young around.
Ever seen a lion attack an ostrich with babies? Farmers learned centuries ago to use ostriches to look after their livestock and this practice is still used to this day, to great effect. Even the farmers won’t walk in their own camps.
So, I hope you appreciate these images – while on foot, mind you.