Of the three species of cassowaries in the world, only the southern cassowary, Casuarius casuarius johnsonii, is found in Australia. Like the emu and ostrich, the southern cassowary is a ratite, a large flightless bird with unusual feathers and other features that distinguish it from all other birds. A striking bird with glossy black plumage, the adult southern cassowary has a tall, brown casque (helmet) on top of its head, a vivid blue and purple neck, long drooping red wattles and amber eyes. The purpose of the tall helmet or casque is unknown but it may indicate dominance and age, as it continues to grow throughout life. Recent research indicates it may also assist cassowaries in "hearing" the low vibrating sound made by other cassowaries. The casque is spongy inside, rather than bony, and may also act as a shock-absorber that protects the bird’s head when it pushes through dense thickets of rainforest and scrub.
You make my heart sing.
The Great Lakes region is one of the very few in which the Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) lives yearround. In other parts of North America. They will migrate either north or south. These are secretive birds who love a watery life. In the spring and summer, one is hard-pressed to find one outside of a marshy area. Indeed, they adore cattail marshes, like the one in which this beauty was photographed. They will nest and retreat into the reeds happily. But, when they eat, they prefer to stalk the water's muddy edge for insect delights.