"Augie" is a big bird and is attracting lots of spectators on 10400 South in South Jordan.
Ostriches more often make their home in Africa or in other areas of wild game farms, but Augie seems to be right at home at the Roy Bouck aviary, located at about 1000 West and 10400 South.Senior keeper at Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake's Liberty Park, Bouck purchased the bird, which now weighs 300 to 400 pounds and is nearly 8 feet tall with its neck extended, in Davis, Okla.
He made the purchase when he went to Oklahoma for Tracy Aviary in February 1989, to trade one male ostrich for three baby ostriches.
A Tracy Aviary employee for about 18 years, Bouck said ostriches do well in Utah as long as they can be sheltered during the winter and bedded down on straw.
He said he paid about $2,500 for his own bird, which weighed only about 50 pounds when it was purchased. A 3-year-old bird often costs $20,000. The cost of such birds is rising because of their value for food and leather, he said.
He said his grandchildren, Stephanie Eyre, 5, and Brandon Eyre, 1 1/2, children of Steve and Lori Eyre, enjoy the ostrich.
"They are not frightened by the bird. They get quite a kick out of it. They've also got their own pigmy goats," said Bouck. The Eyres live in an apartment on the Bouck property.
"Female ostriches are generally tame, but males get a little mean during breeding season," Bouck said.
Few people are successful in riding an ostrich when it runs because the bird's weight shifts from side to side.
Bouck started taking care of birds in 1954 when he was a student at Central Junior High School. Calvin Wilson, Tracy Aviary's first curator, got him started raising birds.
He said his aviary is located about a mile away from a similar attraction, Owned by Otto Jones, who raises buffalo and ostriches.