This male emu tending nine chicks could mean a big wet is on the way Photo: John Andersen
This male emu tending nine chicks could mean a big wet is on the way Photo: John Andersen

Farmer’s astonishing rain prediction

AS far as retired western cattleman Bob Forster of Charters Towers is concerned, a large clutch of emu chicks is the best sign a good wet season is on the way.

This male emu looking after his nine chicks was photographed near Clermont on Wednesday.

Mr Forster's theory is that emus have a lot of chicks if there is a good season ahead, but if rain is not forthcoming they will only have a small batch of chicks. "It's all about survival. If there are fewer chicks, they will be easier to raise if there is no rain," he said. "This year it looks like we will have floods, scuds and scattered cyclones."

Mr Forster said that as well as large clutches of emu chicks, he was basing his prediction on this year's October storms.

He said that it was common for October storms to be dry and dusty, but this year they brought good rain.

"They are usually dry storms with plenty of lightning that starts fires. This year they all had good rain in them," he said.

He said an emu with nine chicks was a sign there was a big wet season approaching.

"An emu with nine chicks is a good sign. This will be a La Nina (wet) year, not an El Nino (dry) year," Mr Forster said.

Bureau of Meteorology data is reinforcing the emu chick predictor.

According to the bureau, there is a slightly increased likelihood of an early rainfall onset in parts of northern Queensland.

The chances of a La Niña, a climate pattern associated with more rain, are about even.

A spokeswoman for the bureau said legends about rain were common.

"I've never heard the one about emu chicks before though," she said.



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