Cassowary – a visit from a Big Chook

On Allen’s first walk to the orchard this morning he was very pleased to be able to observe a female Swamp Wallaby without disturbing her – we often see her and she is becoming more used to our presence.   When Allen returned to the orchard about 10 minutes later he saw this Cassowary feeding under an old Leichhardt tree (Nauclea orientalis) on the edge of a revegetated area.  Needless to say he returned to the house for the camera and I followed behind so that we could get a photo before disturbing the big bird.

This is only the second time we have seen a Cassowary on the property.  Our first sighting was of a bird that had walked onto our house lawn, she was understandably ill at ease and wandered off quite rapidly.  This is not the same bird, her casque is quite distinctive, tall with a very obvious bent top.  We were careful to move quietly but she seemed unconcerned about our presence,  eventually walking off only to be observed a little later in the orchard standing and preening.

It is difficult for me to put into words the sheer delight and gratification that we are  experiencing.   After many years of restoration work this is our most cherished reward.  We never doubted that we would eventually see a Cassowary feeding here but to see one of these magnificent birds feeding and looking content in her surroundings is quite simply ………wonderful!

16 responses to “Cassowary – a visit from a Big Chook

  1. Fantastic news Mum, and great photos Allen – a wonderful testament to all your hard work. If the curved casque means an older bird, then I am rather disappointed – I am hoping for a little flock of baby cassowaries the next time I visit! (Can old birds still lay fertilised eggs? Or is it only mammals that have the age/fertility link?)

    • Thank you Celia dear – Re her breeding potential …. there is so little known about Cassowary that we are not sure for how many years the females would lay eggs. The males incubate and rear the chicks while the girls cruise off around the rainforest.

  2. Congratulations on restoring your personal piece of the environment. It must have been a wonderful moment to see that beautiful big bird walking around in our own place.

  3. Excellent! May there be many more visits.

    • Thank you Lorraine. At this time of the year Cassowaries tend to range looking for sufficient food as fruits in the rainforest are not so plentiful in the wet season. We have several native fruiting trees that we are hoping she will enjoy ……

  4. Oh well done.
    How do you define riches ? How do you determine success ? When a cassowary walks through your orchard.
    It’s as simple as that and as difficult as that

    You’re now rich, you’re successful (and you’re good looking) With lots of love from Davey and Cathy

  5. What a happy day. Leichhardt fruit would be less favoured when richer pickings are around, I guess.

    • Yes Tony a very happy day and she was there again this morning – same tree. As we have planted many Cassowary food favourites we are hoping to tempt her or others in on other occasions.

  6. Well done, to both of you, just returned home to find this. All the work is coming to fruition! I can’t out wax my brother, but it is a wonderful gift for your hard work.
    Love Dickie & Susie

  7. Hi Barbara,

    The bird does bear a striking resemblance to the large female that was relocated from Cape Tribulation.

    A photo of a left side view would allow a comparison with photos we have of the CT bird.

    Good news

    • Hi Lyall,
      If it is the same bird she is in excellent condition and enjoying native fruits in our reveg and along Barratt Creek. As we know during the wet season far less native fruit is available, forcing the birds to forage further afield.

  8. Great looking bird and only someone who has experienced being close to these birds can know the joy of meeting one in the wild.
    I have been filming Ella Bay Cassowaries and posting the film on you tube.Just posted film of them eating beach almond fruit and sea lettuce fruit on the foreshore. Great work with your orchard and I wish you many more cassowary visits!

    • Hi Russell, yes she is magnificent ……. still after several sightings she takes my breath away. Our orchard is only a hectare and is surrounded by riparian vegetation on Barratt Creek and by revegetated areas in various stages of maturity.
      Your own Blog posts on Cassowary tracks along Ella Bay beach are delightful …………..
      the thought of yet another beach development endangering the already fragmented habitat in which Cassowary live is horrifying.

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