Just a quick emu update! No pictures, I've been forgetting to take my camera out with me while tending the birds, sorry.
The babies are well. Still growing and getting bigger! Both of them somehow lost their collars. Oh well, I got breakaway collars for a reason. I'll have to replace them. I'm pretty sure I can still tell them apart
Ciara is a BIG girl now, all filled out and taller than me if she wants to stretch up. Yesterday while petting her she stood the same height as me and gazed into my eyes...and I started to fear she was going to pull a repeat of her youth and try to eat my nose, haha. But she didn't, thank goodness.
Soooo Ciara is making what I'm pretty sure are supposed to be 'boy' sounds. I'm waiting for some emu breeders to confirm. I don't know if females can grunt, but it sure does sound like she's grunting. And if females can't grunt...
'Soooo Ciara is making what I'm pretty sure are supposed to be 'boy' sounds. I'm waiting for some emu breeders to confirm. I don't know if females can grunt, but it sure does sound like she's grunting. And if females can't grunt... Well, then the DNA test would have been wrong.'
Morning, Pyxis. Both males and females make all standard emooo noises with the one pivotal exception: only the female has a vocal sac.
So, you know there's a point at which the very very last of the juvenile plumage disappears -- 20-22 months? Then you just gotta wait. Some time in the next year, if a female is female, she'll spark up over something
, and start booming ('foomphing'), and the issue will be resolved. You can often see the sac (though it'll be obscured by her puffed-up chest feathers); and if you get to pat a female in this state, you can quite clearly feel the big weird balloon under her feathers.
Note the photo: this is a 'resident' female communicating inter-territorially with another female. Somehow, gettin' hunkered down seems to help them get a 'bigger' sound. Sometimes they get even further down, into almost a sort of crouch. The sound, a splendid bass 'Fooomph,' is unmistakeable once you've heard it -- and if you hear a string of softish vocalisations in the hour or two before dawn, that's the same thing: female.
Gettin' Your Gurk on
There is a thing, though: males seeeeem to be the only ones who 'get their gurk on': they'll gurk several times, then emit a long and increasingly loud series of gurks.
But the bottom line for U.S. folks is that some sex identification comes from watching the emus interact. Even at a half a mile, though binos, if you see in autumn a pair of emus, and one is walking behind the other, that's a breeding-pair, and the one in front is the female.