As we continue in lock-down and restricted to a 5 km radius of movement from our home, birding is almost impossible, but for our backyard birds, which are always a […]
As we continue in lock-down and restricted to a 5 km radius of movement from our home, birding is almost impossible, but for our backyard birds, which are always a treat, as they become more trusting of us being around them. As I was writing this post one of our adult Crested Pigeons came and looked into my study window to call on my help as it was pursued by a coalition of Noisy Miners. When the Miners saw me through the window they fled, and the Pigeon was safe and happy to sit and watch me. Within seconds, it was included in this post. This bird has often come to me to save it and its brood from local terrorist attacks from Miners, Ravens and Currawongs.
Our Primulus also delight us as we sit having coffee and lunch in our courtyard in the warm Winter sun, as Noisy our local supervising Noisy Miner bathes and splashes before our eyes, letting everyone know about it. He is happy for us to watch a few feet away, We are suppose to leave for our holiday today, but it is cancelled (again) due to extended lock-down.
This weeks post features 4 of our largest endemic birds, 2 of which are flightless (Emu and Cassowary).
The Emu (1.5 – 2 m) is the worlds second largest living bird by height and is found all over the Australian Mainland, and not Tasmania. Dwarf emus (once hunted to extinction in just 5 years of settlement) once inhabited Kangaroo and King Island in Bass Strait. The Ostrich is the tallest, and also found wild in parts of Australia, as they are feral, being introduced from Africa. The Emu is a very unique bird of the semi desert, open woodlands, farm paddocks and grassy plains where it feeds on grasses and other vegetation. It has several great survival properties which assist its ability to thrive in the harshest conditions. It can go long distances without water and can run up to 50 km/hr for a long period, outrunning its predators, as you will see in the video below where it ran alongside our bus, maintaining speed for about 7 minutes. It has two eyelids per eye, a specialized second closing opaque eye lid to protect it from dust storms. It uses its tiny wings to cool itself.
Here is a pic of one leading its young along. Notice how they are striped to assist in their camouflage. Emus also have very powerful feet which can tear down a metal fence and open up a human body if provoked, which usually only occurs if they believe their young are threatened. They have been known occasionally to cause serious injury and fatalities when excessively provoked, but this is rare.
The Brolga (1.7 – 2.4 m) is Australia’s tall, graceful, elegant bird, known for its dancing courtship displays and bugling calls. I have never seen them dance in the wild, but have mainly seen them in northern Australia in the sugarcane country, but can be found in pairs in far northern and much of eastern mainland Australia. This wading waterbird is found in fresh water lagoons, lakes swamps and flood grasslands feeding mainly on wetland plants, insects and amphibians.
The Jabiru or Black-necked Stork (1.9 – 2.2 m) are a large wader bird often found alongside the Jabiru in wetlands and lagoons and basically in the same locations (as seen in the following video). Both Brolga and Jabiru can fly well. The Jabiru feed mainly on very large quantities of fish, molluscs, and amphibians.
The male has a dark eye and the female a yellow eye.
We were blessed so see a family of juvenile Jabiru fly and soar on the thermals with their new found wings while at Cairns wetlands.
The Southern Cassowary (1.5 – 1.8 m) is labelled the world’s most dangerous bird, responsible for death and serious injury of humans. It is a rainforest bird found in northern Queensland and important in maintaining the rainforest ecosystem, though currently listed as endangered with number dropping due to loss of habitat, illegal hunters, dogs attacks, and road fatalities. They feed on all forms of native fallen fruit, but will eat small vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, carrion and plants. This one was more tame and checked out this caravan park daily for food.
Their long razor sharp bladed central toe can rip open a human or animal in seconds when they jump up. The female is taller than the male having a taller head casque (helmet).
Have a wonderful week and stay safe.
Find out more about our Aussie birds and educate your children with my book releases available here at my online store. The most significant gift you could give to encourage a happy and healthy life, by assisting them to make wise life choices.
” I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.” – Psalm 16:7-9 (NLT)
<<< Back To Top of Page >>>
‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,
To learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.