I’m in the wrong business – I shouldn’t be writing about birds I see in their natural environment, or in zoos. I should be breeding and selling Ostriches. Yesterday I had another request for the purchase of Ostriches, something which happens every few weeks. I could be making my fortune out of selling these interesting birds, mostly to buyers in India and Pakistan.
The reason I get so many requests of this nature is because I once wrote an article here about the Ostriches living near my home – in the nearby Monarto Zoo which is part of Adelaide Zoo. As a result – and despite having a disclaimer on the page – I still keep on getting orders for either eggs or chicks. I’ve even closed comments on the article – but they still keep on sending me orders via my contact page. Sigh.
One of the problems is that this web site is so popular, and searching online will bring the article up in the first few links. The curse of being popular, I guess.
- Ostriches in Australia – and near my home – the article causing me so much trouble.
- Monarto Zoo
- Adelaide Zoo
Buy Ostriches here:
I bet I still get plenty of orders!
One of the interesting birds you can see at the Monarto Zoo near my home town of Murray Bridge is the Ostrich. The zoo boasts a large flock of this species and they breed readily in captivity.
Ostriches are native to Africa but there have been some feral populations in different parts of South Australia over the last century and a half. Originally they were imported and farmed for their feathers. These were used for decorations, usually in ladies’ hats. When this fashion quickly faded the industry declined and some birds were released and formed feral breeding populations, especially along the Coorong south east of Adelaide, and north east of Port Augusta. From time to time there are reports of small flocks still living in that area.
More recently there has been short lived resurgence in the farming of this species, this time as a meat bird.
If I want to see an Ostrich I only have to take a ten minute drive from home.
Now before all you Australian twitchers out there jump in your car or on a plane to “tick” this species off your list, let me explain. The Ostriches I’m talking about are in the Monarto Zoo just down the road from Murray Bridge in South Australia. They have a thriving collection of Ostriches as part of their displays of African animals. Visitors can walk down the hill from the Visitor Centre and get a close look through the fence. You also get excellent views as you do the bus tour of the zoo.
Many people would not know that there have been several feral populations of Ostriches in Australia over the last hundred years or so. One such population existed near Port Augusta in the far north. They had been “farmed” for their feathers on a sheep and cattle station there in the late 1800s. A remnant feral population has existed in this region ever since, though their numbers were never more than a few dozen at best. Even though I lived in Port Augusta in the 1970s for ten years, I never managed to see even one.
Other ostrich farms existed in other states and several in the Coorong region of South Australia where a feral population existed for some time. None survive in that area today. A recent correspondent on the Birding-Aus forum lived in Port Augusta in the 1990s and he suggested that the feral population there was captured for sale. At the time Ostrich farming had a sudden but short resurgence. He was of the opinion that a small remnant population still exists in that region. There have been no recorded sightings to my knowledge in the last decade. CORRECTION: There was a report today on Birding -Aus of a sighting of a pair with 9 chicks (May 17th 2009) on Mt Arden Station near Port Augusta. (Note: there is no access to this area for birders.)
- Birds of Monarto Zoo – plus information about the zoo
UPDATE: Would all readers please note – I am not in the business of breeding and selling birds, Ostriches included. This is a blog about Australian birds in the wild.