Baby Emus at Tower Hillby I AM WARRNAMBOOL
Tower Hill is a major natural landmark on the Princes Highway, almost smack bang in the middle of Warrnambool and Port Fairy. Tower Hill is a GIANT maar volcano which was believed to have erupted roughly 32,000 years ago. Tower Hill has seen many changes in this time, being cleared completed and used as farming land and quarrying, to being considered Victoria’s first national park, to becoming a State Game Reserve which saw massive revegetation efforts to bring Tower Hill back to its former glory, with inspiration taken from an Austrian artist, Von Guerard’s painting which show great detail of the reserve prior to the mass clearing in 1855. These efforts saw 250,000 plants being planted and over 120 species of bird flocking to the area.
In current times, Tower Hill is a Haven for Australia’s Native wildlife, especially during the spring months when breeding season occurs. During this time you can spot many of Tower Hill’s newest additions steeping out into the world.
April through to November is the Emu breeding season, with little baby Emu Chick’s being sighted from roughly August onwards. Once the female lays the eggs, sometimes up to 6-11 eggs, it is up to the male to incubate the eggs and he is the sole parent for up to two years, as the female finds another wandering group and usually another mate! Apart from being a lot smaller than adult emus, chicks also have a distinct pattern on their feathers, shaped a bit like a bullseye or stripes, which they grow out of as they mature. The best time to spot these new arrivals is early in the morning or late in the evening and often wandering through the tree line.
Although black swans will mate any time of the year, February through to September is usually the best time to spot the little cygnets, as this is when the water level tends to be at its highest. These little guys are born a lightish-grey colour and tend to hang with their parents for 9 months after hatching before going off on their own.
Let’s talk kangaroos- the female kangaroo has the ability to have 3 young at any one time, one hopping by her side, one in pouch and one in utero, but this isn’t the best bit. During periods of drought, or in the face of low food, a mother kangaroo has the ability to actually freeze the development of an embryo until the previous joey is able to leave the pouch. A joey is usually dependent on their mother until roughly 18 months. Kangaroos can breed all year round, but with spring and summer (September-February) being the most common time for young to be born.
While harder to spot, everyone’s favourite Australian Native Animal, the Koala, will usually breed between August through to February. When born, a koala joey is the size of a jelly bean, blind, hairless and has no ears! Immediately after birth Joeys crawl into the mother’s pouch, where they stay for about 6 months, here is where it will continue to develop all its missing features!
It is a must to visit Tower Hill any time of year, but it is especially magical in spring. When all the plants start to bloom and all the Native animals (and their babies) come out to play so pack a picnic and bring your camera, you don’t want to miss this.