Something Borrowed, Something Blue

The birds are at it in my garden again: making use of the everyday.

This time it is the very shy Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) that inhabits wet, heavily forrested areas of the east coast of Australia, including the mountains west of Sydney.

The male of the species is what you might call an obsessive-compulsive bachelor.

Male and Female Bower Bird – image courtesy of google

It makes an elaborate tent from sticks and surrounds this with (somewhat) concentric, rigidly arranged blue items. This is all in the hope to lure a female, who shows a preference for males who can arrange objects of a similar size and shape. Here it has made a bower in one of the corners of my garden.

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Male Bird guarding his Bower

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Inspecting the tent

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Close up of the tent and bower

I suspect that this is one bird that is actually thriving on all of the rubbish made by modern-man. Prior to European settlement, there were only a handful of blue flowers and berries in Australia, and I know of only one or two that are in flower/fruit at this time of year, so all of the detritus must make for very eye-catching displays to the female Bower Bird.

In this Bower, there are clothes pegs (only the clothes pegs came from my yard), pencils, pens, drinking straws, bottle-caps, bits of packing tape – collected, I suspect, from near and far – it certainly is a lot of effort for courtship!

I do hope this bachelor is successful and I have a Bower Bird family to join my Wattlebird family

Australia certainly has some very interesting wildlife, and it’s always such a wonderful privilege to have so much wildlife in the garden.

Happy gardening 🙂

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28 thoughts on “Something Borrowed, Something Blue

    • It’s amazing to see – this is the first time I have ever spotted a bower bird building the courtship area in real life. You often see abandoned ones…the male will give up if he doesn’t find a female within a set period of time. Just as well I never got my hands on a mecanopsis poppy or else it would be lining the bower!

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  1. Wow, this is absolutely fascinating. I’ve never seen a bower bird – how wonderful that they might nest in your garden. Love the way it arranges the specifically blue objects – and love that description, “obsessive-compulsive bachelor”! Great photos.

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    • Thankyou. I love how the blue objects match their eyes – as I watched the bower bird, he hopped around arranging and rearranging the objects just so. It’s quite fascinating to both see in action, and see the results

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    • I shall! These birds are normally very shy and live in the forests. You don’t often see them in built up areas at all, unlike the parrot-birds which constantly fill the skies, so I am quite excited about this find.

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  2. That is BEAUTIFUL!!!! We have a red cardinal bird that is a lovely, vibrant red..but this BLUE is amazing:-) I enlarged the picture, I thought at first glance those were his “feathers” which were beautiful, then I thought flowers, but they are blue clothes pins, blue plastic odds and ends. That astounding. I have never seen a bird do that-brilliant! Great captures:-)

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    • Thanks Robbie. It is such astounding bird and both male and female have the most intense violet-blue eyes you’ll ever see. I suspect that my bachelor may not have found I mate: I check on the bower every week and there has been no changes for a little while, so I think he’s given up….but that means I’ll have other bower birds trying to dismantle the nest and forage the blue objects next year.

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