He can run up 50km/h, but cannot manage to walk backwards. He can grow as tall as 2 metres, is flightless, but a strong swimmer. If you transport yourself to Australia’s outback, and hear the bird’s own wild cry ‘ E-moo’ E-moo, rest assured, water is nearby.
This ostrich related bird, known as the EMU, is most intriguing and it is the male of the species that is our focus of honour this Father’s Day. He is known as a dedicated dad for taking on most of the chick rearing responsibility. The ‘father’ builds the nest and incubates the eggs. During this 56-day period, he eats and drinks very little, losing often half his body weight. Quite the feat. The male preforms courtship dances to attract a female to whom he mates for life. Although at breeding time, he is known to play the field.
While the female may lay eggs in several different nests, the male may incubate eggs that are not his own. He then looks after the hatchlings for another 18 months. But he likes to ‘father’ alone and if the female ventures too close, he may express a dislike and chase her away. He defends the chicks at all times. While generally friendly and inquisitive, emus do like to be treated with respect. Rightly so. While an emu may not be the brightest light in the harbour, the father emu deserves kudos for his commitment to raising his chicks.
We thank the emu, male and female for producing an incredible oil located in the fat on the back and in the body cavity. Raised for their meat, the oil is a by-product. While used traditionally by indigenous Australians for its anti-inflammatory and reparative qualities, the demand of this incomparable oil is increasing as more medicinal properties are discovered. This includes amazing benefits on the skin.
Father’s Day is just around the corner. We wish every Dad, Papa, Papi, Padre, Père et all father figures a well-deserved recognition day.
And a special honour to the father in feathers.