Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dangerous Ground

This is not a spectacular picture, but it's one I tried for days to get. This Cassowary male and chicks probably crosses this road several times a day, but it took me a week to figure out their regular route and where their usual crossing point was. Why is this important?  First of all, the most important cause of mortality for this endangered species is by car impact. So this is a picture I felt was important to have: crossing any road - and this one is surprisingly busy - can be life-threatening for an adult Cassowary, not to mention it's three small, inexperienced and unpredictable chicks.

 In fact, this was the best-behaved I have ever seen these chicks - they almost NEVER go in line behind their Dad - usually one or the other is wandering off on his own distracted.  Is it possible that he's taught them the importance of staying together when crossing the road?  I hope so.

And yes, I would have loved to have arranged for a car to come around the bend right then - like the picture below it would have told a more compelling visual story - but I would never have forgiven myself if something had happened to one of these birds. Over my two weeks here, I have grown very attached to these gentle and confiding birds, and I wish them well in a challenging world. Simply said, I am grateful that they have allowed me into their lives;  I hope I can use these pictures to do something positive for their future.

Nikon D3, 24-70mm lens