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Famous trotting ostrich "Oliver W."- harnessed for a spin (record of 2.02). We are near the St. John's River in the suburbs of Jacksonville. The unique "farm" out here was established in 1898, and at the present time the proprietors have a magnificent flock of about two hundred strong and healthy birds. "Oliver W." is a famous character in his way. He is about ten years old and ten feet tall, weighing 400 pounds. He was not an apt and willing pupil during his term of training for work in a harness; like most birds of his kind, his intelligence does not go very far, and his temper is easily ruffled. A single vigorous forward kick from one of those two-toed legs could disable a man or a horse. Notice the heavy, round outline of the bird's breast, entirely different from the narrowed, keel-shaped breast of birds that fly and need to present the least possible resistance to the air. The wings of "Oliver W." and his relatives serve merely for the decoration of themselves and of humankind. Twice a year he grows a set of twenty-four long white plumes on each wings, with shorter black plumes over them, (the female birds wear only plain drab colors). The feathers are not pulled out of the sockets, but are cut off, without causing any pain to the birds, and in a few weeks the old stub dries and falls out, somewhat as dead leaves fall from a tree, leaving room for a new growth. The male bird scratches a big hollow in the sand for a nest, and during the incubation period of six weeks he takes his turn, sitting on the eggs at night to give the mother a recess. The eggs are about 18 inches in circumference and weigh four pounds.
Publisher & City:
Underwood & Underwood
Series & Number:

Scan courtesy of Roy Winkelman. Image retouched and converted to anaglyph in 2005 by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. View this image using 3D glasses with the red lens over the left eye and the blue lens over the right eye.

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