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Thoughts of Yesterday
By Clara Beard
Clara Beard, Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter shares opinion, perspective, and observations from world culture to paper-cuts.
Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ostriches Vs. Cowboys

Clara Beard

They say an ostrich's eye is bigger than it's brain.

Poor bird. I feel for those two-legged freaks of nature. They get no respect. We munch away at their meat, jump on their backs ("giddy up bird!"), pluck out their feathers to dust our mantelpieces, and ogle over the size of their alien-like eggs.

I'd be an angry SOB too if I had to endure life in a Barnum and Bailey sideshow time warp. No wonder they look down on us from nine feet in the air with beady little eyes, full of contempt and bitterness.

I, along with thousands of others, played spectator to these goliath ratites at the Chandler Ostrich Festival back in March. A carnival-like conglomeration of all things 'ostrich,' made for a delicious, suntan friendly time. We just pretended not to notice the incensed 'side-eye' from the ostrich enclosure, and half-wondered if these big guys once enjoyed their flightless life.

I know there must be some kindness behind those eyes, up inside that 'birdbrain,' maybe hidden in the back right-hand corner. Interestingly, the male and female ostrich share the incubating duties with other ostriches in their nomadic group. They are also the only ones in the ratite family where the female incubates; they share the duties, with the males incubating at night. That takes brains, right?

The races puzzled me though. What was the deal with the cowboys? When did they embrace the ostrich as part of their rodeo repertoire? You can't round 'em up; these nimble birds reach up to speeds of 45 miles per hour. Boys, stick to your bovines.

It is also evident the birds are smart enough to know humans on their back don't fly (pun intended). Human carnage was all over the track.

So, the unnatural marriage of the cowboy and the bird was a curious one. And this year's ostrich festival left me with more 'important' questions than answers. But that won't stop me from experiencing it all over again next year.

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