Last winter, I used to see a trio of ostriches when I followed the road north to visit Ponygirl. I wrote about them in a post titled Farm Animals, linked here. I haven’t been that way in a while, as Ponygirl has moved to a new location. So this week, when an expedition took me by their field again, I had an eye out for the ostriches.
There was no sign of the ostriches, but I slammed on the brakes and pulled over when I spotted these two big birds, pacing the fenceline. Emus! The ostriches were very nervous birds, and always huddled far away across the field if you stopped your car. But the Emus were not so inclined at all. The pair of them followed the fenceline down to where I was parked to check me out.
Emus are the second-tallest birds in the world and may reach up to 2 metres in height. According to Wikipedia, their legs are among the strongest of any animal, allowing them to rip metal wire fences. This pair seemed disinclined to rip their way to freedom, probably a good thing. Emus are sometimes raised for food, so I don’t know if these two birds represent a commercial enterprise or are strictly pets.
Their feather structure is designed to protect them from the hot sun of their native Australia but they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The Ottawa winter will soon test their cold hardiness.