Our Elmo was a special bird. Elmo, an emu, emerged from his egg on a cold December day in 2001. As an adult he stood 5 ft tall and weighed approximately 140 pounds. His parents, Erasmus and Ema, still live on our three acre property in Northern California. Emus live to be 35 to 40 years old.
Hours after Elmo hatched we separated him from his father - male emus sit on the nest and raise their young chicks. Elmo spent the first six weeks of his life in a large cardboard box placed in our kitchen. We taught him the necessities of emu life and took him out on our lawn for daily romps. He had imprinted on me as his surrogate father and loved to lie on the grass next to me with his body cuddled in my arms and his head tucked into my shirt, which I suspect he regarded as a comforting parental wing.
As Elmo grew into young adulthood, he would roam our property freely. He would respond to his name and understood several voice commands. He loved to be held and petted. He particularly enjoyed summer baths in a large plastic pool, where he would splash and gurgle with joy while enjoying a rub down.
When he reached adulthood, we provide him with his own enclosure and arranged for a suitable mate named Egal. Both bonded and enjoyed several years of a happy life together. Yet even then Elmo would enjoy visits from us. He would leave his mate and his enclosure and walk along with us enjoying special treats such as grapes. He continued to enjoy his baths and never lost his habit of putting his head inside my shirt or jacket for comfort. When his head was stroked, he would fall asleep in my arms.
On a windy and stormy night in March 2009, Elmo was attacked and killed by a mountain lion. He was just eight years old. We are grateful for the years of happiness he brought us; we mourn with deep sorrow his premature departure.
Yes, our Elmo was special bird, a very special bird. He was our constant companion and our beloved friend. We miss him dearly, but his memories will be cherished in our hearts forever.
Phil and Gail