Littell's Living Age/Volume 134/Issue 1732/Capturing Ostriches

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Littell's Living Age
Volume 134, Issue 1732 : Capturing Ostriches

The greatest feat of an Arab hunter is to capture an ostrich. Being very shy and cautious, and living on the sandy plains, where there is little chance to take it by surprise, it can be captured only by a well-planned and long-continued pursuit on the swiftest horse. The ostrich has two curious habits in running when alarmed. It always starts with outspread wings against the wind, so that it can scent the approach of an enemy. Its sense of smell is so keen that it can detect a person a great distance long before he can be seen. The other curious habit is that of running in a circle. Usually five or six ostriches are found in company. When discovered, part of the hunters, mounted on fleet horses, will pursue the birds; while the other hunters will gallop away at right angles to the course the ostriches have taken. When these hunters think they have gone far enough to cross the path the birds will be likely to take, they watch upon some rise of ground for their approach. If the hunters hit the right place and see the ostriches, they at once start in pursuit with fresh horses, and sometimes they overtake one or two of the birds; but often one or two of the fleet horses fall, completely tired out with so sharp a chase.