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Cassowary Encounters in Far North Queensland

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by T. A. Rose (subscribe)
Enjoying challenging myself to add to the WeekendNotes vast library.
Published May 20th 2023
Why one should be caso-wary
Cassowary Statue in Cassowary Coast town Wongaling Beach.
Cassowary Statue in Cassowary Coast town Wongaling Beach.

Among the diversity in Far North Queensland's Wet Tropics region is the flightless cassowary. It is mysterious to many because it's got limited habitat and the cassowary is a shy bird in the presence of humans. It is known as a dangerous creature, at least in terms of flightless birds. As it is fairly mysterious yet famous this flightless bird can be the topic of yarns about how it reacts in human presence and just in general about its speed of movement, how it relates to other animals and the power of its scratches and pecks.

I can confirm on the Tully to Mission Beach road there is a reasonable chance you'll see them, and they just walk along like emus on the roadside. The danger is people stopping their cars in the road switching on hazard lights to get a memorable mobile phone shot of them. Amazingly they sort of live up to the hype, they're special looking creatures and look elegant in their habitat. While research shows they're probably extraordinarily dangerous they seemed calm when I saw them for a few seconds and it's on some levels hard to believe the research let alone the yarns yet perhaps a better principle to follow is either way they're not meant to be in contact with humans so observing from a distance makes much sense.

The tropical north Queensland website has information on everything one needs to know about Australian cassowaries in Far North Queensland. Seeing a pair is seldom occurring but if you want to increase the chances of doing that safely, May is the ultimate time. At that point adult cassowaries bond and are fairly calm but in a term known as being caso-wary it's never such a bad idea to view from a distance. It's not the best example to get close to this prehistoric survivor and distributor of rainforest plant seeds, but I appreciate the novelty and they do look elegant when surrounded by rainforest.
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Why? Educate others to be caso-wary
When: All year round.
Where: Far North Queensland especially Mission Beach.
Cost: Ideally free or not at all.
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