Ostrich - A Massive, Flightless Nomad
Yesterday we learned about a tiny, hyperactive movie star from Colorado. Today features a massive, flightless nomad from Africa. Ostriches are world famous for their "buried-head" hiding strategy. When an ostrich senses imminent danger and can't run away, it flops to the ground and remains frozen with its head and neck pressed against the earth in front of it. Because the head and neck are pale, it appears to blend in with the soil which makes it look like the bird has buried its head in the sand.
This bird isn't quite the brainless coward that it's sometimes made out to be, though. It's fully capable of protecting itself on the open savanna. Ostriches have elongated necks and excellent vision so they can see forever and identify dangerous threats from a great distance. Powerful legs propel them to 40 mph and if confronted, a single forward kick can be fatal to even Africa's most lethal predators, such as the cheetah, lion, hyena or leopard.
Physiologus is an early Christian text that was written around 200 AD. It proposes that the ostrich incubates its eggs by staring at them. At that time it was thought that our vision was the result of special "seeing" rays emanating from a person's eyes. People believed that the heat generated by the intense gaze radiating from an ostrich's enormous eyeballs is what actually hatched its chicks.