Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Number Four: Largest eye of any land animal

The Ostrich does not bury his head in the sand .  .  .
it just looks that way when in a defensive behavior.

This ratite (flightless) is the world's largest bird at 220 pounds and 6 to 9 feet tall. Ostriches don't need to drink - they generate water internally from the plants they eat.  Hunted in the wild nearly to extinction in the 18th century, ostriches are now farmed for meat, leather and feathers. One ostrich egg weighs as much as two dozen chicken eggs.

Ostriches can sprint up to 43 miles an hour with a 10 to 16 foot stride. A kick from a clawed, two-toed foot can kill a human or a lion. See an Ostrich on the run:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Eye number three . . .

The much maligned seagull.

During a recent Giants game, scores of seagulls began swooping over the field in the middle innings, releasing their ordnance from above. Usually a baseball fan tries to catch any falling object that comes his way, but this was not one of those times. Most nights there are at least 500 gulls in the left-field bleachers alone.

After the game, in a matter of minutes, gulls rip through every discarded food scrap. Fans have suggestions about what to do: umbrella hats, owl statues, hawk statues, hawk calls over the loudspeaker, bobblehead hawks, a platoon of shot gunners in boats on McCovey Cove. One kid said everyone should bring a Super Soaker and fire at will.

"Without the seagulls," said one of the many custodians, "there would be no seagull poop. And without that, there would be a lot less of us."
Thanks to Steve Rubenstein, SF Chronicle