For world wildlife Wednesday this week we have the ostrich, a bird with a reputation for refusing to confront or even acknowledge problems, a reputation that has, over the years, been the subject of many jokes, much derision and a myriad of witty comments.
‘Any fool can turn a blind eye but who knows what the ostrich sees in the sand.’ ~ Samuel Beckett, in Murphy
‘The ostrich burying its head in the sand does at any rate wish to convey the impression that its head is the most important part of it.’ ~ Katherine Mansfield
Of course, ostriches don’t actually bury their heads in the sand or any other substance – they simply lower their heads when feeding and also as part of their complicated mating ritual. The male lowers his head, flaps his wings rather excitedly, and pokes the ground with his bill to try to impress the female, repeating this pattern several times. Eventually, the female will run in a circle around the male and drop to the ground, which is the signal that she’s ready for him. I’m not sure that the female in my photos was very impressed with her male’s wing-flapping, and we didn’t stay long enough to see whether his energetic display proved successful.