“The average male ostrich stands about 9 feet tall, weighs approximately 160 kg, and can run at up to 73 km/h. They have a sharp talon on each of their feet that is capable of slicing a person open with one kick.”
Revenge of the Überchicken
A hike last autumn took us into a field of (very) tetchy ostriches. It’s rather sobering, being menaced by a homicidal giant chicken, with nothing between it and you but a gaggle of hiking buddies squeaking in terror. Operation human shield then redeployed behind me, cowering behind a chest-high pecan nut tree, leaving me eye-to-eye with the beast. The group started jabbering advice, like “Er, it looks really pissed!”; “Run Tim! Run!”; and “Grab the fucker's neck!”
Kentucky Fried Guilt
So, it was just me and a bird with a walnut-sized brain, with likely only two settings: one: peck at grit; two: kick and eviscerate. The ostrich’s raptor-like talons and its keen interest to see the colour of my insides was most upsetting. I rued the last KFC chicken bucket I’d eaten. Maintaining eye contact with the brute, I picked up a gnarled stick about the size of a school ruler, and a lengthy Mexican stand-off followed, with much ruler waving and shrill "Shoo! Naughty bird!" noises from me. Luckily eventually setting one kicked in, the bird 'hmphed'at me, then trotted away in disgust to peck at some grit.
Thoughts of alpha male chest-beating, teeth baring, and triumphant chimp-style faeces hurling crossed my mind, but going toe-to-toe with an oversized chicken doesn’t really cut the Charles Bronson mustard.