Stand back I know how big I get….

Between Pretoria and Kathu there is an ultra-city stop at Coligny.. (well I suppose it’s the nearest you’re gonna get to one on this back road).. This is a stopping spot for us so that Linda can off load and recharge the coffee levels.

I strolled around at the stop to stretch my legs, after 225 km driving the knees tend to feel it. to my surprise I saw this……….

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A male ostrich with a single chick….. out with the camera and lets get closer. Having raised hundreds of these birds within the auspices of a contract I had with one of the mines in Lydenburg, I felt safe as the male was behind a fence…. The female was also near at hand behind the same fence….

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“Surprise Surprise Surprise…” (as Gomer Pyle would have said) this side of the fence were more chicks… from experience I know these youngsters are quietly stupid and would need help to get back through the fence to their parents…. it’s one thing coming one way, but another going back in the pea size brain of an ostrich chick….

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with a little encouragement… and a chase or two I got them all back to the safety of Dad, who, if given a chance, would have kicked the hell out of me. (I cover my escapades of raising ostriches within my book)… there are definite comical instances when dealing with these over sized birds…. here’s a few more photos of the young….

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It is hard to believe that such a small chick becomes such a large bird…. Thank you Lord they don’t fly… dodging a bird dropping of its size would be a major effort and a definite sh..y memory….

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Ostrich, or the “Big Bird”

Ostrich (Struthio camelus)

Are these big birds or what? Not something you will see replacing the proverbial Turkey on the Thanks Giving or Christmas table… no way too heavy for Mamma to carry. 63 to 145 kilograms (140–320 lb.) might just be what could be called “a meal too far”, or one will have to have on huge family…

There is one odd, or not so odd thing about the Ostrich, it’s mating dance.

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Like all birds, or nearly all birds, the male must attract the female, but in the Ostrich world this lad is not a light weight, he goes after two to seven females… His booming call and fighting prowess will ensure he gathers a harem, none of which insist he puts the toilet seat down. He will then perform his dance and she will show her willingness and the deed will be done. He only bonds with the most senior female, who lays her eggs first followed by the others, and when the time is right, she will sit on the eggs (up to 20 odd) during the day, and at night the male will do the duty.

The sad thing is that only about 50% of the eggs will hatch, sometimes far more, but of those, only about 15% will make it through the first year…. however they are the longest-living bird species. Now for the actual mating dance …..

The cock performs with his wings, alternating wing beats, until he attracts a mate. They go to the mating area and he will ensure privacy by driving away all intruders. They graze until their behaviour is synchronized, then then the process takes on a ritualistic appearance. The cock will excitedly flap alternate wings again, and start poking the ground with his bill. He will violently flap his wings to symbolically clear out a nest in the soil, while the hen runs a circle around him with lowered wings, he winds his head in a spiral motion. She drops to the ground and he will mount for “Bing bang boom”.

Now hers a few photos that I hope clear up any misunderstanding …

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AND THEN SHE SHOWS HER WILLINGNESS TO BREED….

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Ostrich and their Young..

The Ostrich have started with their young, if you remember I posted the dance of romance… well here’s the result….(click on the high lighted to see the dance of love of the ostrich)

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