One morning, a surprise visitor in the shape of a cassowary took a leisurely stroll across our front lawn. He didn’t appear to be in any hurry. The cassowary walked along the grass, parallel to our timber verandah, until he reached the end — some 30m.
He wasn’t concerned about seeing us on the verandah but he did turn and walk away. However, he turned back and I tried to communicate with him. He simply looked at me.
He opened his mouth as if to speak, but then decided he preferred his own company. He ambled back in the direction from where it came. He wasn’t skittish or afraid. At one stage, we thought he was going to walk up the steps.
After he left, he strode purposefully back towards the rainforest area. We decided we would keep some fruit in the fridge for next time he visits. We’ll have a ripe banana and some berries to throw well away from the house, onto the grass — similar to their natural environment. They can be known to become aggressive if they think you’re withholding their food supply — so no serving of food on a plate for this native Australian animal.
Here are some tips from the Queensland Government, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Cassowary behaviour is unpredictable. Cassowaries can inflict serious injuries to people and pets by kicking with their large clawed feet.
- Never approach cassowaries.
- Never approach chicks – male cassowaries will defend them.
- Never feed cassowaries – it is illegal, dangerous and has caused cassowary deaths.
- Always discard food scraps in closed bins and ensure compost bins have secure lids.
- Always slow down when driving in cassowary territory.
- Never stop your vehicle to look at cassowaries on the road.
- Keep dogs behind fences or on a leash.
If you come face-to-face with an aggressive bird, it’s important to have some simple strategies to protect yourself. If you encounter a cassowary, back away slowly and put something like a tree or a backpack between yourself and the bird, and then let it go on its way. To report a cassowary sighting call 1300 130 372″
A sign has been recently placed on our road, near our major rural highway, to alert drivers of a cassowary in the area. I anticipate where there is a young cassowary, mum or dad must not be too far behind. I’ll keep my camera ready and a safe distance.