The Curious case of the Cassowary Call

To: <>, Andrew Taylor <>, Peter Shute <>
Subject: The Curious case of the Cassowary Call
From: "Arwen B. Ximenes" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 14:18:33 +1100
Hi again,

something has been bugging me - I'm not sure if I'm barking up the wrong tree here, but would distance from the sound source actually be problematic in your recording? How close were you, Phil? 

From what I can tell from a quick google, the frequency of the sound you describe is approx 36 Hz, which is very low, just within the lower limit of normal hearing (of humans) and if the wavelength calculator I have found is correct, then at a temp of 25C the wavelength would be 9.6 meters. Does anyone know what the minimum distance (nevermind angle) would be from a cassowary to capture its call? As I say, I may have got this completely wrong, but you may have been closer, which might explain why you didn't pick up the soundwave - can someone set me straight on this one?


> From:
> Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2013 12:56:14 +1000
> To:
> CC:
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] The Curious case of the Cassowary Call
> Thanks Andrew, it's an old model Sennheiser ME 66 and I don't think it has any bass cut off features, there don't seem to be any on the Marantz PMD 113 either. I had it pointing right at him when he called, but he was unfortunately facing away, that might be the issue I guess, I'll have to try again if I get chance
> Regards
> Phil
> Field Guides / Sicklebill Safaris / Cassowary House / Cassowary Tours
> P.O. Box 387
> Kuranda
> QLD, 4881
> Australia
> Phone: +61 (0)7 4093 7318
> Fax: +61 (0)7 4093 9855
> Email:
> Website 1: Http://
> Website 2: Http://
> On 17/03/2013, at 12:26 PM, Andrew Taylor wrote:
> > On Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 11:43:34AM +1000, Phil & Sue Gregory wrote:
> >> This is the time of year when the Cassowary chicks here along Black Mountain Road at Kuranda are well grown at 5+ months old, and still following the parent around, guzzling food voraciously (and not letting him get any much of the time!) They come in more or less daily, but at no set time, the last two days was late afternoon, today it was 0830, so somewhat unpredictable. The chicks have the high-pitched peeping notes which they give much of the time- see my recording on xenocanto, or if one gets mislaid there is a shrill, rising "peeeep" distress call which is guaranteed to galvanize the male who comes looking for it at once.
> >>
> >> Over the past few days I spent several hours trying to tape the deep infrasonic 3 or 4 syllabled "departure call" of our male Cassowary, which he gives once or maybe twice each visit, over a couple of hours stay, and only in the mornings oddly enough. He bows his head and fluffs out the neck and back feathers to give this very deep rolling grunt, which you can feel in the pit of your stomach. I finally got it this morning, with him just below me off our veranda, but when I play back the ME 66 Sennheiser mike does not seem to have picked it up! Very disappointing and I don't know what to do about it. I had the recording levels set to high and this seems fine for the Yellow-spotted Honeyeater at the end of the cut, but these deep tones are maybe going to be impossible?
> >
> > Hi Phil,
> > Does your recorder have a high pass (low cut) filter?
> >
> > For example my LS10 has a 100hz low cut filter which
> > would remove a cassowary call if not switched off.
> >
> > You might also find the ME66 much more directional at
> > Cassowary frequencies and has to be carefully pointed at the bird
> >
> > Andrew
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The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU