Animal Diaries Archive
8 September 2006
Have you ever been on a walk at dusk and heard an eerie wail that calls out and makes you think, "What kind of animal is that?" It often stirs up visions of Bunyips and Yowies and other frightening things, but once you are quiet and peer out beyond, you might notice something a little different to what you would expect. For such an impressive noise comes from none other then the Bush Stone Curlew. A ground-dwelling bird with big green eyes, long thin legs and brown and white feathers, it stands at one foot tall. You could be forgiven for imagining something the size of an elephant, the sound is so powerful!
It comes as no surprise that the legendary tales of huge creatures in the night were produced, since no one could successfully catch a glimpse of the bearer. With a wail so overwhelming, people weren’t searching for something small and bird-like, so the Curlew was never thought to be the culprit. Curlews stand as still as a statue when under threat to avoid being seen by predators, then when the opportunity arises they race and hide behind the scrub; masters of disguise!
Well they sure have fooled many, and are bound to fool more, but now you know what to search for. If you haven’t seen a Curlew yet, there are four to spot at Australia Zoo; two in the Rainforest Aviary and two in Koala Walk-through. Have a listen if you're on the east coast of Oz; noises aren’t always what they seem!