- "I trusted you with my egg...and I got them to trust you, too!"
- ―Ethel to Sid when she and other parents discover that Sid fell asleep and caused the eggs they had entrusted him with to be stolen.[src]
Ethel makes a brief mention to her mate, claiming that he "flew the coop". What she meant by this is never made clear, however. During the events of Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade, she is seen (rather, they are heard) to be a single mother to an unspecified amount of chicks, naming two of them (Savannah and Rachel), but only one of them appears onscreen over the course of the short film (that being her son hatching from the egg that Squint stole).
Ice Age: The Great Egg-Scapade
Ethel first appears when Sid intends to start up a program of watching over parents' eggs. Sid approaches her because Ethel was new to the valley and did not know him. Despite the distractions from her rambunctious children, Ethel agreed to let Sid watch her egg, and also convinced other parents - among them Cholly (who had adopted an egg), a glyptodon mother, and a condor mother.
Later, Ethel and the parents discover Sid asleep and all their eggs missing after Squint (one of the pirates from the fourth movie) stole them all without waking Sid. An especially upset Ethel threatened Sid with an ice cycle and the parents subsequently attempted to pull Sid apart limb-by-limb. Manny and Diego stopped them, however, promising they would retrieve all of the stolen eggs. With the help of Clint, Squint's brother, and the map that he stole without Squint knowing, they recover all of the eggs except for Ethel's. Squint discovers this, and he threatens to "scramble" Ethel's egg if they do not build him a ship.
The next day at sunrise, Clint fools Squint into believing the protagonists had built his new ship, but this was only a trick so Manny, Sid, and Diego could capture him. It was then that they caught Scrat stealing the egg (which Squint had painted so it seemed to be an acorn), and they all give chase, including Squint, after Manny sprays the egg with water and Scrat tossed it off the hillside. They almost loss the egg, but Clint risks his own life to catch it in a basket before it crashed to the ground. However, Squint immediately snatched the egg away before Sid could return it to Ethel. Sid was able to get it back from the pirate though, when the ice thawed and Squint was not able to hang onto the egg. The egg hatched when it finally returned to Ethel, and Ethel mentioned that it was her son.
Ice Age: Collision Course
A Diatryma that physically resembles Ethel in about every way is seen several times throughout Collision Course, first after Francine broke up with Sid. She and another resident of the valley then ran off after Sid's face swelled up to the poison ivy in unintentionally wiped his tears away with.
She was seen later during the meteor shower that interrupted Manny and Ellie's anniversary party. In a fashion very similar to how Ethel reacted to the realization that her egg may be lost forever after Squint lied about its whereabouts, she was seen panicking in the chaos following the start of the meteor shower, seemingly oblivious to the fact that either Crash was riding on her back, trying to catch flames from the meteors with a tree branch.
This same Diatryma, among several others scattered about the attending animals, was seen in the audience of animals that attended Peaches and Julian's wedding at the end of the film, sitting behind Gavin, Gertie, and Roger. Ethel had no speaking roles in the film, however.
Personality and Traits
Ethel seemed to be a devoted and caring, but somewhat strict, mother. This strictness may stem from the fact that she is a single mother, who possible lost her mate to tragic circumstances. Her devotion to her children is shown to be a bit extreme, when she threatens Sid's life with an icicle after Squint stole the eggs he had been entrusted with.
Throughout Collision Course, multiple Diatryma appear, first a pair of them attending Manny and Ellie's anniversary party at the start of the movie. Shortly after, a Diatryma is seen panicking during the meteor shower, behaving the exact same way that Ethel behaved in The Great Egg-Scapade when she realized that she may never seen her egg again. This was likely Ethel, given the similarly eratic behavior when faced with a stressful situation.
At the end of the movie, several Diatryma are seen in audience of animals attending Peaches' wedding, with one that resembles Ethel (as well as the panicking Diatryma seen during the meteor shower) among them.