Monday, March 12, 2012


    I wanted to find a list and some pictures of the birds who are said to stick their heads into holes in the ground and get to know more about them and learn why on earth they did such a queer thing.

           I ultimately determined that it is because they cannot make themselves disappear from the world simply by placing their hands in front of their faces and saying (silently or aloud): 

   “Where’s  [INSERT NAME]?,”

     as a small child might.

    If you don’t believe me about this, see Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), Natural History, Book 10, Ch. 1 (i.e., "they imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.")

      Great strategy, by the way.  Go ostrich.  Go emu.  Go lovely little sandpiper.


  1. Yes, birds are strange. Or rather, some aspects of their behavior seem that way. Our chickens would just fall over when a ox came by. They seemed to pass out.

    I guessed then that maybe it was best to pass out if a fox is about to sink his teeth into you. But it seemed so odd.

  2. As an adult, I've really come to love birds. The parakeets, Skip and Flip, who live in Caroline's office are incredibly interesting creatures, full of complications. They fly around the room all day and have intense communication with each other, with birds outside the window and with Caroline. All the birds around our house are sensational. Ostriches, from what I've read, are apparently docile; emus anything but. Your chicken story is extremely strange and funny. I think Pliny had it figured out correctly. I definitely wish I could fly. Curtis

  3. Nell, I loved the thought of chickens collapsing at the sight of an ox! Then I saw what you meant.

    This post has made me aware of similarities between certain places I frequent and holes in the ground.