In the “Emus, the bird” news, a loyal EMUTalk.org reader (and someone who I am hoping will join the effort here as a more regular contributor) sent me this, “The Great Emu War: In which some large, flightless birds unwittingly foiled the Australian Army,” an article in Scientific American about what happened when Australian military veterans trying to homestead and farm parts of what we here would generally refer to as “the Outback” came up against thousands of emus. It’s a fairly long but interesting read; here’s a favorite quote:
Concealed gunners sighted 1,000 emus nearby, and waited patiently for them to make their way over. At point-blank range, says Johnson, the soldiers open fired, felling maybe 10, 12 emus. But then the machine-gun jammed. The emus scattered once again, having delivered 1,000 of their fluffy hides into the hands of the soldiers before snatching almost all of them back just as quickly. The media had a field day, quoting one of the recruits as saying:
“The emus have proved that they are not so stupid as they are usually considered to be. Each mob has its leader, always an enormous black-plumed bird standing fully six-feet high, who keeps watch while his fellows busy themselves with the wheat. At the first suspicious sign, he gives the signal, and dozens of heads stretch up out of the crop. A few birds will take fright, starting a headlong stampede for the scrub, the leader always remaining until his followers have reached safety.”
New York City chef David Santos of Louro, a restaurant in the West Village, has been getting some attention recently for the emu eggs he offers on his menu. An emu egg at Louro, soft-scrambled and served with wild mushrooms and black truffle, serves two to six people and goes for $90. You don’t have to go to Louro to find emu eggs, however. According to the New York Post, emu eggs are sometimes available at Whole Foods for $29.99 each, and they’re very popular at the farmers markets that sell them. Other high-end restaurants have been putting the eggs on their menus as well.
Emu eggs the next big thing? Sure…. Though I have to say if I saw one of those suckers in one of our local Whole Foods I would certainly buy and give it a try.
This story has a little too much alpaca news for my tastes, but according to this WECT “Local 6″ news story in Columbus County, NC, at least one person is suggesting emus (the bird) as guard animals against coyotes. Okay, and the alpacas too.
I’m intent on having a bit of a vacation from the computer this Thanksgiving break, so I won’t be back here until Sunday or Monday. I was going to leave you all with a video of some idiot burning down the house by frying a turkey wrong, but that’s kind of old.
Instead, I thought I’d share this video of emus wondering the streets in the Australian town of Longreach, Queensland. Here’s an article about the whole problem. One thing I noticed about this video is that all of the vehicles have some kind of heavy protection grill on the front of the car, which suggests to me that animals like emus wondering into traffic is perhaps not that unusual.
I’m going to send EMUTalk on summer vacation starting this week until late August. I am actually still teaching right now, though I’m teaching online and I’ll be doing a lot of travel beginning this week. I’ll still be “around” if something interesting happens, but for the most part, I’ll be away.
In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with a couple of stories about Emus (the bird) to contemplate as you enjoy the last of summer.
First, it would seem that the big news right now in Emus– at least based on a Google news search– is that the emu business in India has gone bust and the farmers are trying to find something to do with the birds. According to the Pune Mirror, “Biz goes bust but emus are the new pick as pets.” A lot of farmers near this Indian city have abandoned their emu flocks (people apparently didn’t like the meat) and a few rich people have adopted them as pets.
Perhaps the best place for an emu is in a wildlife park in Australia, and perhaps the best thing to do with an emu is to just hose them down, as reported here in the Royston Weekly News. It’s a slideshow of wet emus; here’s my favorite picture:
After ordering wings from a pizza place Tuesday evening, Robert Leseberg looked out his window and saw a huge bird.
“Oh my god, look how big that turkey is” was his first thought, said Leseberg, who lives on two acres in rural Walnutport, about 15 miles north of Allentown.
But this not-so-wild “turkey,” when stretched fully upright, could raise its big beak above the head of the 6-foot-3 online investor, who soon figured out he was dealing with an emu.
He left it alone until, on his way back with the wings, the bird was blocking his driveway.
Perhaps the emu was not that crazy about Leseberg’s confusion of it with a turkey and/or his order of wings. In the end, Leseberg was able to soothe the bird and to get animal control involved to take the bird away.
Just now, I did a quick search for what I hope might be some place on the EMU homepage to find a calendar of all the various events going on around campus, especially those eligible for “Learning Beyond the Classroom” credit. Not thinking very hard, I typed “EMU Today” into my browser search and this is what I got. Heh. As I say, rarely is this site about emus.
An alert EMUTalk reader sent me a link to this important emu article, “Keepers baffled as emu stolen from Australian park,” which appeared in the Bangkok Post. Basically, someone broke into a little zoo and took an emu, which I think is sort of like breaking into a Michigan zoo and taking a raccoon.
“It’s unbelievable,” [park curator Chad ]Staples told national broadcaster ABC.
“I understand to a degree when you’re talking about an animal that has significant monetary value, but an emu?”
A New Carlisle man testified Tuesday that he and a friend went to a Buchanan-area farm in late October to ride an emu after a night of drinking. Jack Keldsen went on to testify that his friend, Thomas Clark, killed the emu with a baseball bat and the two dumped the dead bird on a friend’s doorstep as a prank.
Keldsen was on the witness stand Tuesday during a preliminary hearing for Clark. Clark is charged with killing and/or torturing an animal and larceny over $200 and under $1,000. Keldsen pleaded guilty in March to attempted killing and/or torturing an animal and agreed to testify against Clark.
The whole thing kind of goes downhill from there. Ick.
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