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Notes from the Homeland (Two)

Discussion in 'Ostriches, Emu, Rheas' started by Supreme Emu, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Supreme Emu

    Supreme Emu Chirping

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    Jun 8, 2010
    Some readers may know that the young of some species of birds are genetically imprinted with a fear of certain predators. (If you 'run' the shadow of a 'hawk' across their environment, they will react in fear, though they have never seen a hawk.) Several articles I've read mention that emu chicks run in a zig-zag pattern in the open, to avoid wedge-tailed eagles, which are (now) the principal threat to them (other predators being extinct or endangered).

    Yesterday morning, The Principle Threat came flying up the avenue of gums in front of the house, and crossed the house-clearing at no more than forty feet. There's no mistaking these creatures: they're magnicent; they're killers. They're magnificent killers.

    W.A. Museum ornithologists have on record a specimen that measured eight feet and two inches from wing-tip to wing-tip. Rock wallaby skeletons have been found in their nests. Local farmers assure me that, not only can a big wedgie LIFT a piglet, but that it can SNATCH IT UP WHILE IN FLIGHT.

    Keep zig-zaggin', little emus!!

    Mark Blair, Rocky Gully, W.A., Australia
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010

  2. Dingo

    Dingo Songster

    Can you distinguish the chicks peeps? I know their "I'm lost where are you" call cause mine do it every morning, but they have other little noises they make that I can't tell what they mean, they talk in their sleep, they make several different noises when something new is around, and they squeal when they jump, or when they step on eachother. I have heard noises that sound scared or unsure but nothing that sounds like a predator call. and I haven't figured out the come with me call.
    Have you heard any of these and can you try to describe them, or maybe put a video or audio set together? when I have mine in the yard I'd like to have a way to get them to follow me without having to walk back and forth, or know when they spot a predator(bird).
     
  3. Supreme Emu

    Supreme Emu Chirping

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    Jun 8, 2010
    No, Dingo. I am a neophyte. My emus WERE here when they were chicks – but probably already three or four months old. I concentrated on taming them. Then . . . suddenly . . . they were adolescents, and I was trying to determine which noises indicated sex. My birds DO make different noises, but I haven't paid sufficient attention to differentiating those noises.

    Your project, however, would be of real scientific interest. Linguists (and structuralists) are concerned with the vocabulary of 'proto-languages.'

    What I have paid more attention to is the body language of pecking-order determination. I have – very roughly – identified a range of escalating behaviours. At one stage, for example, I thought that grunting and feather-flaring and standing on tippy toes was the 'maximal' behaviour. Then I saw my first both-feet-in-the-air-double-kick model, and was flabbergasted. I captured it on a mobile-camera video, but I don't know if the detail would be there if I uploaded it to the Net. Now, this behaviour was between my birds and WILD birds – do your birds act this way? I've had three tame birds and eight wild birds perform the 'ballet of determination' over a half an hour or more (over a handful of wheat).

    Supreme Emu, Rocky Gully, W.A., Australia
     
  4. Dingo

    Dingo Songster

    mine haven't started any dominance asserting yet, I think that is due to the fact that right now their main focus is survival and figuring out how to be emus.
     
  5. Supreme Emu

    Supreme Emu Chirping

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    Jun 8, 2010
    How to Be an Emu

    One: danger? [If danger, RUN (don't worry about barbed wire fences – just run!!). If no danger, keep eating (if you are still hungry – see 'Two')]

    Two: hungry? [If hungry, sniff ground in vicinity. If Yummy for Emus, rapidly ingest until 'No Longer Hungry' state is achieved (or there is danger – see 'One,' above.]

    Three: rest in the sunshine? [If (a) no danger, and (b) no hunger, sit in the sunshine, and scratch yourself with your beak until (a) danger is indicated, or (b) 'No Longer Hungry' light goes out.]

    Four: mate now? [Mate when 'Mate Now' signal lights up.]

    Five: Random Spaz Dance now? [Dance when R.S.D. signal lights up.]

    Supreme Emu
     
  6. Dingo

    Dingo Songster

    Ahh, but to run and/or RSD they have to have coordination, which mine seem to lack as they regularly stumble over air. They have gotten good at walking across the linoleum floor in the kitchen though.
    Adina has been spazzy today, s/he wont sleep much and keeps rolling, kicking and jumping. S/he's even out doing Quoba who is the one that always seems to be awake.
     

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