Saturday, July 22, 2006

Of Emus and Enumerators

Collecting census data can be a dangerous job—especially in Australia.

A 1986 inquiry found 9 per cent of collectors were the victims of dog attacks, or had their clothing damaged by a pooch.

That same report found one collector bitten by a horse, another stopped by a large bull, and others chased by geese, emus and a large pig. [Link]

Mark Adams

Back in college, I was actually pecked and chased by ostriches while going door-to-door campaigning for congressional race. They're quite ill-tempered birds, and I'd imagine emus are much the same. I'd never make sport of that.


Yikes! The largest bird that ever tried to nip me was a goose (though I also had a three-hour standoff once with a drunk and belligerent wren).

Mark Adams

Luckily, there was a fence between me and the birds, but I was in such a state of panic that I tried to evade them first by running ALONG the fence for a good fifteen yards before I realized they were keeping pace and pecking me through the fence. And an ostrich can actually KILL a man if it gets in a good kick to the head. I've never found any record of that being the cause of any of my ancestors' demises, but if I did, I'd tell everyone it was ninjas.

The worst part is, as would be expected if you had to outrun an ostrich, we lost the race, by about a 3:2 margin. How'd your wren showdown go?


"How'd your wren showdown go?"

Let's just say that I'm lucky wrens have shorter legs than ostriches.

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