Barron Falls Estate is privileged to be home to the elusive cassowary, the heaviest bird in Australia- second in the world & who are believed to have evolved 60 million years ago therefore sharing characteristics with dinosaurs like their feet & respiratory system.
We have had many visitors wanting to tick this off their bucket list & being unable to see one around the Daintree or Mission Beach, they find us... Even though we can't guarantee cassowary sightings, certain times of the year there is around an 80% chance to encounter one while other times that chance goes up to 95%.
Unfortunately, cassowaries have a reputation for being aggressive & it is easy enough to look for information on Google or Youtube to realise that they are the bad guys in the wild. What people forget is that they play an important role in keeping the rainforest diverse by eating around 200+ species of plants. They mainly feed off fallen fruit & carry those seeds for large distances. Some of those fruits are only edible to them & no other rainforest animal will touch them like the cassowary plum which is also highly toxic to humans.
We are pleased to be able to say that in 50+ years of sharing this space with them, we are yet to see any kind of dangerous behaviour. We know they are territorial & we have witnessed how they protect their territory from other cassowaries so caution is always advised during an encounter.
One thing we know for sure is that seeing a cassowary in their habitat is the most unforgettable experience!
We continue to observe and record information about cassowaries as we endeavour to know more about them. This includes recording information of nesting areas, success in hatching their eggs & raising their chicks as well as identifying different birds by looking at certain characteristics like their casque, wattles, overall size, feather colours & behaviour around us.
The use of camera traps no only help us monitor their movements around the property but we also see any feral animals that come here through neighbouring National Park. Feral animals like pigs and dogs pose a big threat not only to cassowaries but wildlife in general by predating, competing for space & food as well as destroying their habitat & spreading diseases.
While we find this is a rewarding task, it is worth noting that no funding is received & all expenses come from our pockets including:
-Purchase of trail cameras
-Purchase of batteries
-Monthly credit to operate the cameras on cellular mode
-Purchase & maintenance of pig traps
-Purchase & maintenance of dog traps
-Purchase of ammunition
-Fuel to run motorised vehicles to get around the property
Throughout the years, the word has spread about cassowary encounters at our property as well as our conservation work that we have been contacted by media companies wanting to film documentaries about wildlife & rainforest, professional photographers looking for unique footage as well as high profile celebrities wanting a private visit to this unique environment.
Our team will do the best to accommodate your needs as we want to spread awareness of this ancient & endangered bird & its habitat.
Check out some of the cassowary encounters our visitors had...