February 21, 2011

Photo Essay: Ostrichland USA

Everyone kept telling me I needed to go to California's Central Coast wine country in the summer.

But I had a three day weekend this weekend, and after a few weeks of commuting daily in traffic, parallel parking, and fighting with other bargain shoppers, I was ready for some rolling hills and wide open spaces.

Because it's winter in Southern California, it was pretty rainy, so although I was itching for a hike in the mountains, my wine country experience in Santa Barbara County was limited to pretty much just one thing: wine.

Except when I got to feed the ostriches in Solvang, the Danish capital of the U.S.

At first, when they spot you, they seem really cute.


You're supposed to hold the bowl of food by its handle with two hands, because the ostriches will grab it away from you.

I giggled as they approached, cooing at the cuties.

They craned their necks above the fence to get to me...

Until they finally figured out that they could reach through the lower slats of the wooden fence. But there was only room for two or three ostriches to feed out of the bowl, which they pecked at feverishly.

The bowl of food didn't last long, and I suspected that the ostriches in the front - the most aggressive ones - generally get overfed and the ones in the back get neglected, so I went back for another bowl. But that one went quickly too, and because standing there with no food is considered a tease to the ostriches, I had to leave.

I blew them a kiss, pulled the hood back over my head, and trudged through the rain back to my car...

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