It was one of those rare sweet summer days in Windsor, Ontario where even though it was
extremely hot, the humidity was low. The display gardens at Grass Root Gardens were a buzz of
activity, July’s burst of flower colour nodded their approval delightfully at the beautiful
day. It was just one of those days where everything smiles. Garden Centres are naturally a
happy place, customers are excited to pick the perfect plant for that perfect garden spot
and I am just as eager to oblige. It was one of those days until I heard a pair of sun-
hatted women shout in unison, each oh raising an octave panic “Oh, oh, oh, your pet, your
pet!” I don’t have a pet. The thought barely formed when two enormous
feathered emus came charging around the greenhouse towards me! Did I mention they were
enormous, and their gait though charging is not what you’d call normal. Speedy for sure,
but in a bobbing, weaving way. Knees way up, head bobbing, running sideways, screaming emus
coming right at me and behind them two funny-hatted screaming women! Faster than Superman
those birds bobbed and weaved their way north. Brushing off our astonishment and lifting
our jaws off the ground, we three women laughed and laughed. Emus are that funny! Of
course we were concerned for the safety of our fair feathered visitors. Emus don’t live in
Windsor! Emus live in a zoo, or better yet their natural habitat Australia, not in a garden
centre in Canada! Our concerns were short lived. Two running men came to the rescue. Seems
their pet emus escaped. Pointing towards the bush I said, “they went that a way!” Its been
ten years since the day of the emu, I have no idea of their fate, hopefully they were
rescued and loved. One thing is absolute, I never forgot them.
Interesting Emu Facts
The Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is the largest bird native to Australia. It is also the
second-largest extant bird in the world by height, after its relative, the ostrich.
The soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds reach up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. They
have long thin necks and legs. Emus can travel great distances at a fast, economical trot
and, if necessary, can sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph) for some distance at a time. Their long
legs allow them to take strides of up to 275 centimetres (9.02 ft).
Emus have a nail on their toes, akin to a knife, which is used in kicking away predators
and opponent Emus. Their legs are among the strongest of any animals, allowing them to rip
metal wire fences.
Male Emus do most of the incubating and nurturing of their offspring.
Emus are farmed for their meat, oil, and leather. (Say its not so)
Having researched the interesting facts about Emus on Wikipedia for my post, I am glad for my ignorance regarding their legs of steel. Ouch!