Do you understand what you’re looking at here, emu lovers? I found it while walking through the bush here.
The shot is likely a one-night roost of a male and several black-head chicks. It’s in the rothschildi territory – south west Western Australia.
Dad and his clutch sit breast to breast at night when they roost. (We have observations of this.) During the night, several times, each bird sits up; poops; shifts its toosh a little to one side (to keep its feathers clean?); and sits down again.
How many chicks? I guess four because Dad plus four = about that many poops.
The photo below shows a chick’s poop and a bit of a feather.
How can we guess the age of the chicks? Well, the poops are not so old. These chicks hatched last spring.
They probably roosted here last summer, so the chicks would have been in the black-head phase (my favourite).
You can also get good information about what season a poop happened from the materials in it – certain seeds, for example, are a no-brainer of autumn.
There may not be a single old timer left here on this thread. (Hello, old timers!!)
I rarely post. But at ‘BYC mating season in Australia’ and ‘BYC planet rothschildi,’ you’ll find the posts where we learned these skills.
Number One, one of the ‘original’ chicks, whom I’ve been observing for nearly eight years, has brought a runty little male, ‘Francis Emu,’ to the house-clearing, and it looks like they’ll breed here – if Felicity doesn’t turn up.
Here is a recent photo of Number One sitting happily about ten meters from my keyboard.
Edited by briefvisit - 4/16/16 at 8:29pm