Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Cassowaries

I guess it is time to report on the progress of the local cassowaries for this year.

 The local pair had two chicks. This photo is early in their development when they were just coming out of the "stripey" phase.
 A few weeks later they are teenagers.
 But then about 3-4 weeks ago, the parents started pairing and they bubs were deserted, left on their own to find their food and shelter without the aid of the parents. This seemed weeks or months early. Usually the chicks are fairly large when the male begins driving them off. We have had a rather warm autumn and maybe this has confused the internal clocks that govern their activities. The bubs now come and go on their own but seem much more hungry than they would be if Pops was looking after them. They have to learn where the fruiting trees are in the forest and where to look for new sources.

The sounds Cassowary chicks produce are distinctive. They have several different calls. These were presented on this blog some time ago.

 Several months ago a deep gash just above the male's left heel. We have no idea how he received this injury. We felt that it could become infected and that would be it for him. But it was the rainy season and the cut healed nicely. There was a rumour that one of the neighbours spray the wound with an antiseptic---something I would never attempt even with a fairly friendly birds like Mr Cassowary. The wound has healed and is now a bulging blister-like tubercle on his left heel.
 Mr Cassowary taking a well deserved rest in the sun.
 Cassowaries can be recognised by the appearance of the casque- the horny but hollow projection in the top of the head.
With a little study, the minute differences can be seen and one can learn to recognise individual birds.


Snail said...

I'm glad that his heel is sorted. They do seem to accumulate cuts and gashes. Fences maybe?

It still amuses me that the casque has that jaunty little lean at the top. Almost rakish.

Mr. Smiley said...

Hi Snail
They say this fellow is about 40 yrs old. So he has some experience. But he might have gotten tangled in wire in someone's garden.

Crash said...

Great Post - like Snail, I'm pleased the bird's doing okay ...

I've seen some in the scrub while working in the mission beach area, but none here except some sign over the river on occasion - good to know they're around eh?