|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Yesterday I went to Featherdale Wildlife Park in western Sydney. Itís a small zoo that specialises in Australian wildlife, especially birds. In fact it probably has the largest collection of bird species in any Australian zoo. I hadnít been here for over 20 years, so now that I live only 20km away, I thought Iíd see what its like. |
I was quite impressed, facilities for the animals were very good and they all seemed in good condition with plenty of room and plenty of food. And I took plenty of photos, which Iíll share a few of with you over the next week or so.
This is a Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius), a large flightless bird that stands at 1.8m tall and lives in the rainforests of north eastern Queensland and much of Papua New Guinea. The female can weigh up to 58kg.
They feed exclusively on rainforest fruits, though they have been known to take snails and fungi. In the small areas of rainforest in Australian, this bird is a primary distributor of seeds, as they eat the fruit whole and later defecate the seed far from its point of origin. Up to 75 species of fruit have been recorded in the diet of a single bird. Research has shown that male Cassowaryís have a range of up to 1.5km sq. which is defended, especially during the breeding season as it is the male Cassowary that incubates the eggs and raise the young.
The purpose of the head casque is twofold. First it protects the head as the bird passes through dense areas of vegetation (also note the thick coarse plumage), and secondly it has been observed using the casque as a shovel while looking for fallen fruits. As the casque grows continuously through the life of the bird, it undoubtedly also has a social function of expressing age and dominance. Cassowaries have been known to live for 40 years and the casque can grow to 18cm.
The Cassowary can occasionally be a dangerous bird during the breeding season, especially a male with young. The feet of this bird are armed with thick talons with the inner toe having a 10cm dagger-shaped claw. This coupled with the fact that the bird can jump up 1.5m from a standing position, run at speeds up 50 km/hr and kick aggressively, mean that some degree of caution should be undertaken if encountered in the wild. There are a number of records of people being disembowelled by angry Cassowary, though generally speaking, the Cassowary is a gentle shy bird and will tolerate people getting reasonably close. I have observed this species on a number of occasions in northern Queensland and never had any trouble from them.
I did a bit of post-processing to blur the cage wire behind the bird.
Info source: del Hoyo et al. Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol 1.
greghume, marhowie, Fisher, lglandon, dsidwell, red45, dew77, chiliu, jstewart, Toni has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
- [2005-09-01 17:43]
Very good portrait, nice colours and background.
The bird is very sharp and composition is very nice.
Excellent work Chris.
Crisp, well saturated shot and informative note, Chris.
Hello Chris, Strangely cool lookin' bird there! Well composed portrait with the bird presenting nicely. Great colors and details with an excellent note, Well done.
- [2005-09-01 19:23]
A beauty and well done on this portrait. Excellent composition and details.
Just wondering, is the pupil black turned to demon eye from flash.? If not forgive this statement.
Vivid colors for a nice composition!
- [2005-09-01 21:18]
Amazing bird indeed, Chris. Great portrait with sharp details, good light, and excellent composition. Looking forward to seeing the other denizens of that wildlife park. TFS. : )
Nice work, Chris! This is a colorful and unique bird, that's for sure. I like how you've blurred the background,though it might be interesting to try putting the background on a different layer first to avoid blurring your bird's edges. Lovely tones and clarity on the bird here. Nice work!
- [2005-09-02 3:00]
Wow, what a bird and what a colours! Great picture Chris, I like bird's pose and rainbow of colours on dark BG. Note is also superb.
- [2005-09-02 10:56]
Wonderful capture.Colors,sharpness,POV,lighting andcomposition are excellent.TFS...:-)
- [2005-09-03 17:40]
Very good colour and nice background.
Excellent image and excellent note. Your cassowary is dramatic and colourful. I'm coming to Sydney in November, so shall put Featherdale on my list of places to visit and go crazy photographing at!
- [2005-09-26 16:22]
Good portrait. It's not easy as they move faster than you think. Sharp details of the feathers. Well contrasted against the BG.