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.
I’m going to be at the main academic conference in my field the rest of this week, so posting here on the site might be on the slow-side for a couple of days. But in the meantime, I’ll leave you with two stories of the birded type:
“Emu on the loose in the east,” or really, in the “east” down south in North Carolina. Nothing too unusual; just a classic story of an emu having escaped and being mistaken by an ostrich.
Second, there’s this from a web site about neighborhood news in New York City, “$20 Emu Eggs Fly off Shelves at Farmer’s Market.” Essentially, emu eggs are novelty items, a giant egg in a very tough dark green shell. What’s it taste like? Well, judging from the video, a “good egg.”
A long-running question about how the largest species of birds achieve erect penises seems to have been settled. In a study published this week in theJournal of Zoology1, researchers report that male ostriches and emus enlarge their penises using a burst of lymphatic fluid rather than a blood vascular system like that found in reptiles and mammals.
The finding, based on dissections, matches what is known about other species of birds — only 3% of which have penises — and could have important implications for the understanding of the shared, and divergent, evolutionary heritage of birds and reptiles.
I guess something to share with others at the Holiday cocktail parties. And yet another reason why we should be the emus and not the eagles.
While looking for an article in the Eastern Echo about the new head in my department, I came across an op-ed piece by Michael Cassar, “Eagle overused as a mascot; Should Eastern reconsider?” It’s dated 2010, but I have a feeling that’s an error– you’d think someone would do a little proof-reading over there….
Anyway, it’s kind of a gentle suggestion that as campus is being renovated, we ought to consider renovating the mascot. I say “gentle” because Cassar isn’t saying we ought to go back to the Hurons nor is he suggesting what is the obvious choice of the Emus. He does have a good point about the problem of being the Eagles:
According to my count, based on a list compiled by Adam Joshua Smargon, there are no fewer than 59 different colleges using the eagle as a nickname, and this doesn’t include variations like the 15 schools named the Golden Eagles. Bluntly, donning the eagle is so generic and bland that EMU might as well have for its motto “Because you’d rather be a Spartan.”
Anyway, I have of course long advocated for a change to the Emus, though not the wimpy logo advocated by the folks behind thingsemu.com I’m talking an emu logo that is more in line with the news items I post here which usually involve an escape involving one of these birds that are notoriously tough and difficult to catch. I’m talking a bad-ass emu kinda logo.
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