Monday, September 17, 2007


When dad cassowary became separated from his three (three-month-old) chicks the other evening, his distress was awful. He ran about bellowing for his young to respond, but as the light faded, things looked very grim.

Occasionally dingoes are seen with cassowary chicks in their mouths, but the concurrent loss of three chicks was quite puzzling.

It was with great relief, at around midday the following day that the reunited family paraded past our dwelling, stopping along the way to feast on fruit from the Alexandra Palm.

Local residents have been quite optimistic about the increased number of cassowary sightings this year. During July, while the blue quandong trees were fully loaded with fruit, three separate families were seen at the same time in the Cooper Creek area. In each case there were 3 chicks, but their ages ranged from about 2 months old, to 5 months to 8 months.

Tourists have been delighted with the parading of the fathers and their young. There were also 2 females, one male with no chicks and three immature birds in the area.

Numbers could be increasing, but we need to be cautious about this assumption. When the food disappears, cassowaries will not be seen so readily.

This week the father lost one chick, so now there are two.

Prue Hewett
Cooper Creek Wilderness
16 September 2007