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Re: Harmonious depredations

Martin's observation is remarkable; but it is remarkable because it is so
rare.  In my fifty years of existence, I have never seen geese-size birds
nesting in a visible suburban location.

Come to Toronto sometime. Or try Boulders Beach near Cape Town, where Jackass Penguins nest successfully on the edge of a parking lot despite predation by genets and mongooses.

What about Ron's claim that ostriches nest in harmony with predators?

I made no such claim. I said that they coexist with predators, who certainly take eggs (their nesting success rate is only about 10%), without being exterminated by them - a very different point and one directly contradicting John's hypothesis.

My statement about ostrich nesting is not merely the report of an anecdote (though you might like to look at the photo of an ostrich nest on open sand in the middle of the Namib Desert on p. 81 of Vol. 1 of the highly authoritative Handbook of the Birds of the World, with the caption "...the large white eggs are highly conspicuous, and when left unattended may provide a welcome meal for scavengers like hyenas and jackals." Ostrich nests are placed, according to HBW, "at sites with good visibility roughly in the middle of the territory".

Though rheas frequently hide their nests, "the male sometimes uproots all the vegetation within a radius of 2-3 meters around the nest, apparently to isolate it, in case there is a fire". Emu nests are "always in a fairly open site, where the sitting male has a good view of the surrounding land".

Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2 mailto:ornstn@home.com