1 July 2010
As this video shows, cassowarys are not at all ‘wary’ by nature … in fact the name comes from Papuan meaning horned head. Their tolerance of humans however, has been one of their down falls. They have a reputation for being dangerous, on account of their tendency to kick with lethal force when cornered, as they sport a 3 inch blade-like inner-claw. In reality, they are slow-moving deep-forest birds and their numbers have been seriously depleted through conflicts with domestic dogs and collisions with vehicles. As this video clip shows, the birds are not always aggressive but like any wild animal, they deserve a little respect – ‘Missy’ in this video has been accustomed to humans since she was a chick. There was a definite moment when she looked me in the eye and indicated “you move now, I’m coming through”. Naturally, I stepped aside.
If you want to see a Cassowary in captivity, you can find them almost anywhere. If you want to see them in the wild, it’s trickier. A night or two at the aptly-named Cassowary House is a virtual guarantee. The supporting cast even includes Victoria’s Riflebirds and Red-necked Crakes.
This video was taken using a Canon 550D with Sigma 28mm f2.8 lens.