Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In which I use a large flightless bird to predict an obvious outcome to a well documented weather pattern

Antonelle & CleoPatton cannot seem to get enough to drink. Last year (& the previous year), one maybe two full buckets of water a day was typical. Actually, it was not because I would tip their buckets out twice a day & there was always water to tip. Now 3-4-5 refills are not unusual.

A has done quite a bit of research on emus (he used to worry about them being to cold or too hot & then he just got interested). I have done rather less.

When the birds arrived they were under fed (they are still small for emus & probably always will be; M****** says they are only frightening as opposed to truly terrifying), so my job was to "put some groceries on them" as horsey-folk might say. & so I started making my own mix of poultry feed, oyster shell & a few varieties of bulk calories. They took to it right away.

I also read the chapter on flightless birds in Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle. It was helpful, arguably because it was free of any agenda or prejudice, at least as far as large flightless birds go. Also, Darwin obviously spent a lot of time researching other, similar birds trying to understand what he saw & that research helped me, too.

In his reading, A learned that emus conserve water efficiently & uniquely (among ratites only rheas seem to handle things the same way). The short version is they are able to pull moisture from the air around them to a significant degree (we mostly have to actually drink it). They can then use the moisture to regulate their own hydration & colling (& heating, which is actually the more remarkable bit).

My hocus-pocus contribution is: if the emus are that thirsty, there most be something drier than ever before hanging about them (I like to mix theories together, here I have combined a complete lack of understanding of energy conservation in flightless birds with a Victorian theory of miasma vapors. John Snow is probably spinning in his crypt).

& so I am predicting a worse-than-previous-years fire season here in Florida. & so is everyone else. But I did it differently.

1 comment:

  1. LOL... HHHM an emu, this is an animal i don't have! but goats, lots of them. Where in florida you be? Thanks for adding my blog to your blogroll. send me a note privately if you don't want to let on where in fla-de-da you are... :)

    nice to meet a fellow nubian, goatie, bloggie.