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Ostriches hate me!  While I treat them with polite respect and distance, the feathery lizards are out to kill me…..

My first encounter with an ostrich must have been somewhere in the late 1970s in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. As was the custom back in the day I was placed on the back of an ostrich while my adoring parents (they still adored me back then) watched and took photos.  I remember a kind Xhosa gentleman holding me on the bird. Then without provocation, its head turned, on that long spindly neck, and the glint in its eye told me in no uncertain terms ‘You are in trouble, we will get you!’

Ruffling some feathers

Re-match

What's Aulden's problem?

Since that fateful day, I’ve been chased by ostriches at lodges, bars, cars, on foot, up a tree and through my worst nightmares! I was once, almost fatally, impaled by an ostrich feather duster. These damn flightless birds are everywhere in Namibia,  strutting their stuff, fluffing their feathers and never burying the hatchet (or their heads) in the sand.

I’ve tried to make peace with them, declining to laugh at their Latin name, Struthio camelus, even though they look nothing like a camel. I’ve refused ostrich eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner (except on that one occasion at a cub scout camp when there was nothing else to eat).  But there has been not one concession from their side.

To make matters worse decades after that first defining ostrich moment, I took Rachael to that same ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn, and they loved her. They were literally eating out of her hand.  Now my nightmares are haunted with the thought that she may have a secret pact with the ostriches!

If you like birds more than Ostriches like me then check out our Birds of Namibia Gallery

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