157. Ostrich


It is a bird but it cannot fly. It is taller and heavier than a man—standing over eight feet tall and weighing over 300 pounds. No wonder it is a flightless bird. What enormous wings will be needed to carry and bear in air a bird of this weight and height! The bird is an Ostrich—one of nature’s oddities!

Its huge body is precariously balanced on its too long legs. Each foot has only two toes –one of which is almost useless. At the top of its long neck, it has a small flattened head, a short beak, large eyes and very long eyelashes.

Its brain is smaller than one of its eyes. But the bird is not stupid. It is not clever either. It has a stride of 14 feet and can easily run at the speed of 30 miles per hour. Strangely it loves to run around in circles.

Its eating habits are legendary. It lives mainly on grass, leaves and fruits. It swallows stones and pebbles to aid its digestion. But it can eat anything without any visible ill effects.

It is very fond of shiny objects and happily gulps down watches, jewels, pieces of glass and metals. The bird is much sought after for its meat, feathers and its hide which gives good leather.

Ostrich can be trained to pull carts and for riding. It is an ill tempered and aggressive bird. A single kick from its powerful leg can bend an iron bar half-an-inch thick or break a human limb. Putting a paper bag over its head seems to have a calming effect on the bird.

The head-in-the-sand pose of the bird is a myth. In danger it just sits down and stretches its neck along the ground merging very well with the landscape and camouflage itself.

Visalakshi Ramani

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12 Responses to 157. Ostrich

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