It's that time of the year again, and we have had two female
Cassowaries coming around to inspect our venerable male, the usual one
whom we call Missy, and a large one with a big casque and long
wattles, who may actually be the notoriously bad tempered Auntie who
moved away in 2000, she sure looks like it in the photos.
The male abandoned the 3 chicks in late April, they were hatched in
late October so that's slightly early, usually it's more like 8 months
together. The 3 of them have stayed together for most of this time,
and oddly the female Missy would often have them with her and wander
off with them in tow. In 1999 a female actually raised the brood when
the male abandoned them after a cyclone, so this is not unprecedented,
but most years she becomes antagonistic to them and she and the male
drive them off.
This year the male is only slightly aggressive to them and we have
had the group of 5 together quite often, with the male then wandering
off. Now the chicks are separating off, and two are sticking together
with one usually solo, and this means that quite soon we will not see
them much more, as they disperse off after food. They are still quite
vocal, we hear the juvenile piping calls when they come round, and
yesterday the lone chick was forlornly giving the loud, rising'
"pleeee" anxiety call, which brings the male running when they are
small. We could hear the chick off in the forest about 100 m away at
least, this is quite a sad time for us and we know them well and their
chances of survival are small.
One worry has ben the sighting of what looks like a dingo here, no
doubt some cross-breed thing but nonetheless loose in the forest and
potentially a threat to the chicks and the musky rat-kangaroos, though
a few less brush-turkeys wouldn't come amiss.
Yesterday Jun 11 one of our guests saw the male and female mating in
the forest, the female sat down and the male mounting on top, digging
his feet into her flanks- she is often quite scarred at this time.
Mating time was about a minute, which seems right, and he was very
circumspect, taking care not to disturb them. We sometimes see them
mating on the lawn here but I have not yet got any photos, though our
lucky guest is on assignment from National Geographic and he did get
some obscured shots yesterday
The male will disappear quite soon for about 3 months, last year he
went in late July and was back late Oct. so it may be earlier this
year. The female is generally about, and it will be interesting to see
what happens with the chicks, if they can survive till the male goes
on the nest then they may have a shot at being here undisturbed a
while longer, though watch out when he comes back wih the new chicks
and is all hyped up!
To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)