Cassowary news

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Cassowary news
From: Phil Gregory <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 20:50:33 +1000
News from Cassowary House in Kuranda, Far North Queensland
The male Cassowary who has visited us most days since the chicks appeared with him on Nov 22 2003 has finally had enough, and abandoned them. 7 months with him as the devoted escort is a good innings, and he must get ravenous as they become steadily more voracious and eat anything they can find before he gets a chance. Monday June 14 was their final day with him and that was a very loose association, after that they were on their own.
     The first few days see much confusion and anxiety, with lots of the rising shrill "Peeeeeeep" cries that would normally bring him running. These three chicks are still together and only squabbling sporadically, often by now they are antagonistic to each other. They appear daily and wander about, so far managing to avoid the occasional appearance of the male except for June 22, when there was a bit of a fight going on when they met.
    If the pattern follows previous ones, they will eventually get attacked by him and literally driven away before he too disappears to go and brood the next clutch. We always hope that maybe they can avoid him and be around when he has gone, but so far this has not happened and the chicks face a very uncertain future. We'd love to see them marked or banded so we can find out what happens to them, though we fear the worst  and expect most die of hunger in strange and sub-optimal  unfamiliar territory. Three chicks surviving to independence has been the norm here in 1998,1999, 2000,  2003 and 2004, with none in 2001/02 except a single chick hatched in February 2002, but we know nothing about the survival rate of our youngsters.
We shall see what happens with this brood, still here daily at the moment.
 Good birding
Phil Gregory
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