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Live to be 30 years old they seem very much at home here exposed and unprotected a mother ostrich wearily scans The Horizon she has good reason to be nervous with 12 eggs beginning to hatch the eggs and emerging chicks are defenseless against predators hyenas Lions jackals and snakes would all gladly make a meal out.
Of this Nest the chicks have already spent nearly 6 weeks developing in their eggshell houses it could take many more hours to Peck their way out the mother splits her time between guard Duty and checkups on her chicks breaking through their thick shell Bells is tough.
Work although they already weigh 2 lb this first challenge of their young lives is critical but exhausting they need to stop often to rest step one is to chip away at the Shell with their tender beaks then mustering all their strength they use their sturdy little legs to.
Push and kick their way free once they're out the babies are very weak the mother ostrich nervously stands watching over her young the first thing chicks see is their mother's immense feet with two 7-in toes topped by lethal 4-in claws her legs are covered with thick.
Scaly skin she can use these remarkable limbs as incredible effective weapons ostriches can kick with ferocious power strong enough to kill a lion at 7 ft tall the ostrich mother is a perfect Watchtower her chicks will need to grow.
More than 3 in a week to reach her height in just over a year these chicks are lucky to just be alive 90% of ostrich nests are raided by Predators such as hyenas baboons and vultures who eat the eggs and once they hatch only 15% of chicks survive to their first birthday as soon as a few chicks have.
Emerged they begin checking out their environment like their mother they're alert and cautious these two brother and sister ostriches have just discovered they're not alone they're starting to get to know each other the babies are anxious to explore this new exciting place they're only a few hours old they'll need a little more.
Rest before they're ready to take on the world but there's no no time to waste stuck in the nest they're easy pickings for Predators they need to get on their feet as soon as possible the father is just as protective of his family as his mate he never Strays far from the nest and his newborn.
Chicks the male ostrich's striking feathers make him more attractive to females but he doesn't blend into the daylight environment very well females and chicks plumage is more subdued and better for camouflage after 6 weeks spent cramped in their eggs movement is a big challenge for the chicks unlike most.
Birds ostriches don't need to learn to fly before leaving the nest they just have to walk several yogurts are claiming to help with their bodies 2 lb heavy and already a foot tall are awkward and clumsy the smell of freshly hatched eggs could attract Predators but the newborn chicks.
Have to stick close to the nest for the first few days of Life their only source of food is vidalin a nutritious substance in their egg yolks the chicks Peck at it building up their strength one little fellow still hasn't made it out of the egg for him time is running out if the inside of the shell hardens.
He'll be trapped and in great danger the perfect helpless victim for a predator suddenly he shows signs of Life nearby his siblings are making great progress they're ready to explore the last baby is still struggling to get out of his shell he must join his brothers and sisters they're hard at work learning to.
Walk looking around and trying to climb out of the nest just hour hours old they already understand they need to get moving and study their environment after a few false starts the last chick eventually breaks free the other babies watch the run to the family as he timidly emerges.
They already have a jump start on life this baby is going to have to play ketchup for ostriches feathers aren't meant for flying but they are useful for communicating especially later during mating season adults have soft dowy plumage the earthy brown color of the chicks helps them blend into the brown African.
Savannah but camouflage doesn't guarantee their safety so the chick's parents stand guard just in in case at Age 2 weeks the baby's feathers not yet fully developed are spiky which will give them a little more protection they've been eating constantly and have already grown nearly.
A foot taller they look more like long-legged porcupines than ostriches the family sticks close together at all times ready to react at the first sign of danger as they walk the chicks become familiar with the other animals on the PLS such as these heart bucks this is an.
Important part of their education learning which animals are dangerous and which aren't ostrich families walk dozens of Miles every day in search of food after the vidin in their eggs is eaten up the chicks have to hunt for food just like the adults by watching their parents the.
Chicks learn to seek out and Peck for tidbits but just figuring out what is food and what isn't takes lots of practice ostriches have enormous eyes almost 2 in in diameter and much bigger than their brains their vision is excellent even the chick's eyesight is far Keener than a human's although ostriches will eat.
Insects or Lizards if they're hungry enough they prefer plants but the babies don't know that yet this chick discovers that a G new carcass is not very tasty suddenly there's a stirring in the grass and a male looks very nervous the young ostriches sense that something is wrong they're not safe out in the open so they.
Rush off to their mother at first the ostrich family doesn't know if the invisible Intruder is Friend or Foe but their father isn't going to wait to find out he attacks racing at 40 mph towards a longtailed mongoose close calls like this one will be.
Repeated thousands of times the mother is anxious and keeps an eye on her mate even after the danger has passed the chicks have already learned to seek protection as soon as either one of their parents looks Restless once their father calms down the babies gather around him again the Mongoose is far enough way now that the family can.
Relax for the moment the ostriches go back to life as usual although the chicks are still a little shaken their father keeps a sharp Lookout just in case the Mongoose Returns the family sets off for a new area with the mother leading the procession the father ostrich brings up the rear.
They're headed for a special place in the savannah where they can take a bath but there isn't any water involved just dust this is a prized dusting location and this isn't the only family who wants it Mom and Dad may need to throw their weight around a little to let the bath Crashers know who was here first they don't intend to.
Budge ostriches bathe in the dirt so they can get rid of ticks and other parasites besides that it probably feels great when a young female interloper Comes A Little Too Close for Comfort mom's Bath is rudely interrupted Ed she rushes at her but she and the Challenger are closely matched whoever is willing to put up the longest fight will.
win with so many legs around the chances of one of the chicks getting hurt is too great the parents decide to move on there will be more places to bathe up ahead as the ostrich Clan goes further into the dry Savannah the chicks.
Feathers begin to blend into the background the edible shrubs serve as both camouflage and nourishment like most baby animals the chicks learn what's good to eat by watching their parents they set examples of behavior that will hopefully give their children the best chance of.
Survival the mother keeps an eye on a young warthog that's passing by he doesn't seem the least bit nervous his parents may be nearby the chicks are sent scurrying to their mother just in case sure enough another much bigger warthog appears he is potentially very dangerous usually vegetarian warthogs will sometimes eat meat.
Especially if such a meal is easy to come by the male will have to take some kind of action the baby ostriches hide in the long grass staying close to their mother in a Flash the male charges the warthog whose sharp tusks are no match for the ostrich's deadly kick after the warthog is chased away.
The chicks are free to rejoin their mother further ahead the mother notices that a lion has also been watching them she quietly investigates tense and ready to flee the lion doesn't seem too interested in having ostrich for dinner but he still poses a threat just in case the parents decide.
To move the family along the chicks wisely follow their lead the ostriches have lived to see the end of another day and on the African plains this is the ultimate success the baby ostriches are now a year old and have grown to the size of their parents but it will take another 6 months before they display their fully.
Adult plumage they are now tall enough 7 ft to scan the landscape themselves and no longer rely so much on their parents for protection these teenage ostriches can fend for themselves but they still have a few things to learn mating will be the last lesson in their education although the young ostriches.
Aren't dependent on their parents anymore they won't leave the family group for another 2 years when they're ready to have children of their own each ostrich needs to eat 7 lounds of vegetation daily since they also swallow stones for digestion that means they cover a lot of ground with dead weight in their.
Stomachs each day the ostriches have to compete with other animals for food like these vast herds of weldy Beast as the weather changes the rainy season with its abundant green grass and leafy shrubs comes to an end now in the dry season many animals including ostriches must cover even greater distances to find.
Food weaker animals will die of starvation and become food themselves for scavengers such as these hyenas ostriches can go for long periods without water while other animals must migrate hundreds of miles to find food the ostriches can stay within their established.
Territories in fact the dry season is a special time for them it's the season for courtship and mating this male has found a female to his liking so he goes after her in Hot Pursuit although she's telling him she's ready to mate by her crouching posture and spread Wings she's happy to make him work to win her and she's giving him.
Quite a run for his money this extended flirtation is one way she learns if he's a good enough mate for her she wants the strongest healthiest male to Father her children it could be hours before she finally agrees to mate with him or she could reject him and wait for someone better to come.
Along finally The Suitor gives up while other females watch nearby the male continues strutting around until he's ready to try his luck again his neck has turned bright red signaling his desire to mate he won't give up until he lands a sweetheart he approaches again again but his girlfriend pretends not to.
Notice she's busy grooming herself the male knows he must persist or another Suitor could come by and tempt her the female now begins her own performance displaying her feathers in an effort to seduce the male this is all part of the ritual this is the ostrich mating dance.
She starts moving keeping her wings held down to attract his attention he returns the gesture with his wings held up just when he thinks he has her she trots off again she's quite the tease but the male persists this time he.
Puts on a spectacular show with his feathers puffed out and his bright red neck swaying from side to side he's proving how handsome and strong he is it's meant to convince the female of of how capable he is of fing healthy baby ostriches she can't help but turn and stare encouraged the male keeps up his display showing off his feathers to.
Their best Advantage finally success his performance has done the trick when he sees that she's ready the male wastes no time he's onor in a Flash and they start mating the male keeps up his dance the entire.
Time they may mate several more times to ensure his genes are present in the Next Generation actual mating only takes a few minutes but the rituals of Seduction can last for days when it's over the female wanders off alone the male meanwhile is still ready for more although he'll ultimately stay.
And raise his young with one dominant female he isn't monogamous the breeding season lasts just a month so he must take every opportunity to mate the dominant female is usually older and more experienced this female is Young and flirtatious but very available when rival males want to mate.
With the same female they beat their wings to try and scare each other these flightless limbs are excellent weapons of intimidation during breeding season when one female is being corded by two males the atmosphere can get quite intense this Suitor neck is red with passion besides visual displays male.
Ostriches also boom loudly to ward off other competitors they're even willing to fight over their females sometimes wounding each other badly with vicious swipes of their claws one of the males does a very impressive seduction dance but the female moves away the other male follows hoping he'll have.
Better luck with her she is still playing hard to get the male tired of her teasing decides to look elsewhere seeing another female in the distance he takes the opportunity to pursue her this time he's more successful the female.
Responds to his call and moves toward him pecking is all part of the game so far the seduction is going smoothly but the male must be patient he can't make his move and until the female tells him she's ready finally she indicates the moment.
Has arrived one last time the male takes a minute to show off the love birds are ready to mate although ostriches aren't faithful Partners certain couples do stay together after mating these are the.
Dominant pairs the strongest healthiest males and females of the group once joined they will remain with each other and prepare to raise their new family the dominant female will allow a few lower ranking females to mate with her male but she's the first one to be fertilized and lay her eggs she is the.
Queen of the nest tomorrow on an allnew Mutual of Omaha's after the male chooses an appropriate spot he prepares The Nest by scraping the ground with his feet the female lays her first egg about 2 weeks after mating she will lay one egg every 2 days.
Until she's produced up to a dozen when there's an intruder even a male looking for a female to mate it's the dominant male's job to protect the nest and the eggs other lone females don't pose a threat in fact they are members of the family in a way up to four more females will drop their eggs in the nest where.
The dominant couple willingly cares for them watching over her eggs is a full-time job for the primary ostrich mother she rolls them over several times a day to stabilize their temperature and help all the embryos develop at the same Pace this egg turning process is what allows for synchronized hatching later on.
meanwhile the father patrols and chases Intruders away the dominant female lays about twice as many eggs as the other mothers she has a tough job to do an ostrich egg is the largest bird egg in the world.
But it's also the smallest egg in relation to the bird's size this is what makes it possible for one ostrich to sit on more eggs than just her own female ostriches outnumber males by nearly 50% so there are a lot of single mother ostriches who need nests to borrow the dominant couple will care for all the eggs but they'll also make sure.
Their eggs are kept in the center of the nest where they get the best protection no one is sure how the ostriches are able to tell their their eggs apart from the others the dominant male is on alert again there are other males in the area and one of the females has settled down.
To lay her eggs making her even more exposed to attack She lays her eggs in the dominant couple's Nest but the father of her children is not this male still he comes over to the nest to inspect the eggs he's just as interested in their welfare as the females in fact the dominant male shares the Judy of egg tending so he takes his responsibility.
Seriously a new female appears she wants to lay her eggs here too but before that's allowed the dominant mother needs to remind her who's boss she shows her superiority by spreading her wings with the chain of command clear the new female will soon be permitted to add her eggs to the growing Nest there are now three mothers and one.
Father quite a crowded household strict hierarchy is required to keep the egg laying process running smoothly and Nest life harmonious the newest female has been accepted into the ostrich Clan she is allowed to approach The Nest she walks cautiously toward the nest while the male follows close behind escorting.
Her these lower ranking females actually have the easier job they can lay their eggs and never worry about raising the chicks another female settles down near the dominant mother to start laying knowing that her eggs will be in good hands but just as she's about to begin a fourth female shows up everyone is very.
Upset the dominant mother spreads her wings in a defensive posture to prot protect the eggs but the Intruder means no harm so the newest mother settles down again to lay her eggs afterwards right on Q the rest of the group converges to inspect the nest this extended family bickers and fights like any family but they all do.
Their best to ensure the safety of the eggs they seem excited at the prospect of so many children once about 20 eggs have been laid in the nest the secondary females will leave the dominant couple to take care of business they have precious Goods to.
Protect which need constant tending it's vitally important to monitor the heat during daylight hours if the eggs are not shaded by the mother and turned occasionally they will get too hot and literally cook in the Sun but the female better not keep her head down for too long there's danger a.
Foot it's a hyena she senses his presence he'd like nothing better than an ostrich omelette for breakfast luckily her mate is nearby playing bodyguard so she can go back to the eggs each one is nearly 6 in in diameter and weighs about 3 lb so rearranging them is hard.
Labor still she's nervous now and knows she needs to keep alert finally she is satisfied that she can take a break the incubating babies are safe again for the moment after all that work and stress she and her mid decided to take a well-deserved stroll across the Savannah the couple is in search of fresh food.
Which is hard to find in the dry season everything seems peaceful so the couple feels secure leaving the nest for a few minutes even devoted parents like ostriches have to leave the nest every once in a while if they are to sustain six long weeks of brooding they have to find nourishment.
But disaster strikes a family of baboons has discovered the nest and made off with one of the eggs an egg of this size can provide them with a substantial meal baboons are intelligent animals they eat both plants and meat and don't miss any opportunity for food with young m to feed the whole group is enthralled by the.
Egg although this big male is less impressed none of them seems to know the first thing about getting it open ostrich eggs are extremely tough this one would need to be dropped from a good height or hit very hard to crack it open the baboons are not the only ones interested in the egg a vulture drops by.
Hoping to share in the leftovers but the baboons are having none of it they're not about to share this trophy the vulture watches from a safe distance but the baboon never does get the egg open what look like an easy meal is discarded the tough shell protected this baby but the is still doomed it.
Will never survive in the outside world the ostrich couple is on their way back to the nest oblivious to the attack it's a good thing they've got a nest full of spare eggs with so many eggs destroyed by Predators ostriches are biologically programmed to make up for the.
Losses they come back to discover two females laying eggs in the couple's Nest but these newcomers are tolerated like the others the dominant pair goes about their regular Nest duties while the latest female lays her eggs for the moment Nest life seems cooperative and peaceful their new mother wants to relax.
After her strenuous egg play session but the dominant female steps in she wants to make something clear this is her nest she uses her wings to express how strongly she feels she leaves no doubt as to who will win this argument sure enough the other two females get the message now the dominant female checks on all.
The eggs to make sure they're okay she and her maid have got an impressive collection 20 eggs so far everything looks good it's time for brooding or sitting on the eggs to begin sitting on the eggs regulates their temperatures so the chicks inside can begin to develop brooding cannot start full-time until.
The dominant female has finished lay all her eggs the male takes the first shift brooding is not like napping though he will pass the first of many restless nights until the eggs are hatched the dominant female goes off to feed leaving her mate to brood alone males incubate at night because in the darkness their black plumage is less.
Visible at intervals throughout the night he turns the eggs just like his mate does during the daytime in the morning the female comes back to relieve her mate she has eaten enough to sustain her through the day she lets the male know it's her with her own distinctive signals this ritual not.
Only tells her mate it is her and not another ostrich but also reaffirms their role as a dominant couple the recognition ritual takes place every time the couple changes brooding shifts in the daytime the female's feathers are much better at blending in with the landscape the couple are a perfectly matched broing pair of light.
And dark before she sits down she checks to make sure the eggs are okay she also makes the most of her 7ft frame to scan the Horizon for danger now the male will need to feed all day to get ready for his night shift while the female takes over brooding.
Responsibilities this exchange of Duties will be Faithfully executed every morning and night for six long weeks the couple cannot fail each other by now all the secondary females have left the nest so the survival of the Next Generation rest solely on the dominant pair of shoulders the female Broods almost.
Invisible in the distance even if she cannot get every egg beneath her she is assured that her own eggs are the most protected ones in the middle of the nest the male spends the day intent on filling his stomach by dusk the female starts looking forward to his return she is getting hungry now the proud father does not let her.
Down he's on his way right on schedule just before he reaches his mate he does a territorial dance letting everyone know he means business no one had better come close to the nest site when he's finished he begins the next Dance The Daily recognition ritual at first.
She doesn't respond he's got to be more convincing now she knows it's him posturing to establish territory to threaten attackers and during brooding is a major means of communication among ostriches after all they do look pretty much alike the only way they can be certain to recognize each other is to be visibly.
Dramatic that way they can use their eyesight by far their sharpest sense to distinguish their mate from an impostor another round in the 24-hour brooding cycle has begun tonight on groomer has it the groomers are about to face their big eggs but most of them belong to the dominant.
Female although she knows which eggs are hers she and her maid will Faithfully raise all the hatchlings regardless of their parentage after weeks of exhausting brooding the couple still must stay committed the babies will require nine more months of their undivided care and attention soon enough the babies will.
Grow up and take their place in the next elegant procession of flightless birds across the African Savannah they will join in their parents strange rituals and fight for survival
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