The Malleefowl Bird
The Malleefowl is a large, terrestrial bird that looks like pheasants, and other ground-dwelling game birds. This distant cousin of the chickens used to roam in large numbers in the flat, arid lands of Australia; but today, their healthiest numbers can be seen in the shrub-steppes of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland, collectively known as the Tri-Cities in southeastern Washington State.
While the Malleefowl stays on the ground for most of its life, it is a very able flyer. This bird builds its nest in the ground, building a nest mound made of sand and debris. The internal temperature of the nest must be kept at a constant value, heating it when the temperature decreases and vice versa.
Malleefowl’s Breeding Habit
The Malleefowl exhibits a very peculiar breeding habit. The parents abandon the nest and leave the helpless chicks when the required temperature can no longer be maintained. The Malleefowl chicks are then left to fend for themselves, acquiring survival skills at a very early stage of life.
The Malleefowl chicks will then spend the rest of their days foraging for food and finding adequate shelter. Apart from the necessities of mating, the Malleefowl spends all of its life all alone, preferring the solitary life that they have lived all their lives.
While the parenting skills of the Malleefowl have been subject to criticism, especially when compared with the devotion of other animals, we are in no position to question the higher wisdom that has imprinted such habits into the Malleefowl. Why the birds leave their chicks and how the chicks manage to survive against staggering odds is part of the greater design that we are all an element of.
Every Malleefowl bird you see has been abandoned at a very young age. It is perhaps this sheer tenacity that has allowed them to reestablish a new home and flourish in the Tri-Cities, even as they were almost decimated in their native land. They are true survivors in every sense of the word. And in Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland they have truly found safe refuge.
A Land of Promise
The peculiar Malleefowl has found a home in Tri-Cities, as the landscape is so peculiar and unique to Washington State. The dry, flat, and barren landscapes that characterize the shrub steppes are very akin to the Australian plains. This feature has allowed the endangered Malleefowl to thrive in the bushlands of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland.
The Malleefowl and the Tri-Cities make a perfect match. Both have unique and special characteristics that make them stand out from their group. It is perhaps part of the grand design that they shall find a new home in the Tri-Cities after losing their place almost everywhere else.