Adelaide Zoo has an excellent collection of birds, both Australian and non-Australian birds. In addition to those kept in aviaries, there is a thriving population of local birds which come in to feed in the animal enclosures.
Crested Pigeons are in evidence everywhere and on this occasion I managed a few good shots of some. This is generally very easy for they move quite unafraid amongst the zoo visitors. Those shown on today’s photos were feeding in the Emu enclosure, along with a few Spotted Turtledoves for good measure.
Adelaide Zoo in South Australia is one of my favourite zoos, and it is also my home zoo, being less than an hour’s drive from my home. I am a life member of Zoos SA, mainly because of my love of birds and animals but also because of the zoo’s excellent conservation programmes.
Adelaide Zoo boasts an excellent collection of Australian bird species as well as a few foreign birds. There are several walk through aviaries which I always visit because they provide an excellent opportunity for bird photography. There are numerous other aviaries too, but shooting through the wire of each cage can be challenging. More about that in future articles here.
I didn’t have any such problems taking photos of the Emus in their enclosure. They roam around a large enclosure with only a low fence surrounding it. This provides excellent opportunities for good photos. They also share the enclosure with some Tammar Wallabies. In the last photo you can see a wallaby with a joey poking his head out of the pouch to pose for me.
I really enjoy visiting zoos. I love seeing the many animals on display but I especially like visiting zoos because of the photographic opportunities they present.
My home zoo is Adelaide Zoo here in South Australia. It’s about an hour’s drive from my home and I am a life member. I don’t particularly like animals being caged up and not free, but I became a member supporting Zoos SA because of their excellent conservation programmes. They have wonderful breeding programmes and have been very successful in breeding several endangered species and then releasing those animals back into their natural habitats.
One of the strengths of the Adelaide Zoo is their strong bird collection. All the birds are kept in aviaries which mimic their preferred habitats. Several of the aviaries are open to the public to walk through, and these provide excellent photo opportunities. I’ll be sharing some of these photos in the coming days.
The Emu is arguably the most easily recognised birds in Australia, and I would guess that many non-Australians would also be able to identify one. It is our largest native bird and is flightless. It is found in most parts of mainland Australia but not in Tasmania. These days however its occurrence in built up areas is very limited, but it can still be common in grasslands, farming areas and national parks.
Last year on a visit to our local Monarto Zoo (just ten minutes’ drive away) I managed to photograph several cooperative Emus on the various walks we undertook. This was to fill a gap in my digital photo collection; for some reason I hadn’t taken any until then.
I guess the Emu is one of the most recognisable birds in Australia. Not only is it our biggest bird, it also features on our coat of arms. Most Australians would instantly recognise an Emu if they saw one out in the wild or in a park. Birders from all over the world would probably have a fair idea of what an Emu looks like.
I hope my readers know what an Emu looks like because strangely enough I don’t seem to have taken one with my digital camera. (Somewhere on several thousand old slides I am sure I have several, but finding them would take all day). See update below.
A question arose recently on the Birding-Aus forum, “Do Emus swim?” The answer is most definitely “yes.” It is not a common activity but they can and do swim.
Some years ago we were on a boat cruise on the Lower Glenelg River near Nelson in south-western Victoria. This was a very relaxing two hour cruise on a lovely stretch of the river. The birding was also very good, with excellent views of Peregrine Falcons along the way. On our return voyage back down river, the captain suddenly interrupted his commentary to point out two Emus swimming across the river about fifty metres in front of the boat. Only their snake-like necks showed above the water. He slowed the boat and turned so everyone on board had a good view.
On reaching the shore, the emus shook their feathers vigorously before heading off into the bush. The captain explained that despite doing this cruise almost every day for over twenty years he had never seen Emus swimming. I later checked with other readers of Birding-Aus and some said that it was relatively common along the River Murray, especially in times of drought when the Emus are migrating, looking for food.
I now have some photos of Emus to share with you. These were taken last year at our local Monarto Zoo – just a few kilometres from my home. I have also added some links to other articles about Emus.
Parts of the above article were quoted in an article in the Sunday Mail, a weekly paper published in South Australia. It appeared in the July 12th 2015 edition.