We all know that birds build nests. Some find trees the most convenient. Others prefer hedges, the eaves of roofs, chimney pots, rocky ledges or holes in trees. But what does a bird do that can neither fly nor swim? Living on the dry, open plains of eastern and southern Africa, the ostrich takes no pains to hide its nest. It merely finds a suitable shallow depression in the ground, which it may scoop out further with its feet. The hole may be up to three yards across. If it are laid six to eight eggs, each one by a different female. Then one hen and one cock take turns guarding the two and a half pound eggs until they are ready to hatch.
However, the ostrich does not sit on its eggs to incubate them. Rather, it squats between them, spreading its wings to provide shade and keep them from cooking in the hot desert sun. With one bird squatting and the other standing guard, there is little chance that any smaller egg-eating mammal or bird will find a meal.