Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Birds of Queensland

The Ladies Probus at Ballyhome Yacht Club invited me to speak to them today with a talk entitled “Cyclone Calamity”.  Before I began, we had wonderful Easter cup cakes and coffee.

Florence, Betty and the Chef
The talk was about the devastation caused both to the birds, in particular the Cassowary, and their habitats after Cyclone Yasi hit Queensland in February 20011 and finishing with how it has recovered after the past 2 years.  The area that I am covering is from Etty Bay to Mission Bay.  Buster (male) and Etty (female) both from time to time come down to Etty Bay beach from the rain forest.

Cassowary on Etty Bay beach
The Cassowary is an endangered unique flightless bird, as tall as a human, with striking glossy black plumage, having a casque on top of their head, vivid blue/purple neck, long red wattle and beautiful amber eyes.  They have a well-muscled leg with 3 toes, one of which is a 5” dagger-shaped claw, capable to disemboweling anyone who threatens them  Females are larger than males, weighing 129lbs, can run at 31 MPH, jump 4’9” and swim in rivers and sea.  Both sexes have their own territory however at breeding time the females are more tolerant of the males and when the male has prepared a litter nest, he leads the female to the site, dances around her, throat trembling and making low “boo” noises, she squats down, he mounts her and she leaves!  He incubates the eggs and looks after the young for 9 months!

Feeding stations had been set up with fruit for the Cassowaries and 2 years on, the habitats have

nearly recovered and Buster and Etty had their first chick born since 2008. 

Buster with chick

Chick between 2-3 weeks ago
Etty - I'm lookin' at you baby!
Apart from speaking about the Cassowaries, I also talked about the wonderful waders found on the  Cairns Esplanade, the time I spent doing the yearly Brolga and Sarus Crane count, showing all the bird photos found around Innisfail where I was staying with my family and finally talking about the the 'Transvestites of the Bird World' - Eclectus Parrots,

1 comment: