Monday, July 11, 2011

Satin Bower Bird

As you might be able to tell from my blog title I am pretty fond of Bower Birds.  When I lived in East Gippsland (Victoria, Australia) we always had plenty of them bobbing about on the lawn but I haven't seen them in the Macedon area, although I have read they can be found here. I can totally relate to the male bird's charming habit of collecting all sorts of junky paraphernalia for his bower, which is not a nest but a stage to attract a mate.  The Satin Bower Bird usually uses blue bits, although the bird below has also taken a fancy to the wattle in flower and has scattered plenty of yellow flowers about, contrasting beautifully with the blue bottle tops, lids and pegs.

Posted by PicasaImagine my delight when I came across these beautiful Satin Bower Birds at Melbourne Museum's (my second home of late) Forest Gallery.  The male bird was very cross as a juvenile male was stealing his blue bits.  The pair chased each other for a good 20 minutes, it looked exhausting but our family never tired of watching them.  The mature male's black blue sheen and matching blue eyes are enchanting and the female is quite lovely in olives and browns.

There are 17 species of Bower Bird in Australia, each with their own sense of style and decorating techniques. More about bowerbirds.  National Geographic has some exquisite images of bowerbirds, the New Guinea bower birds seem particularly talented.

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In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead.”
― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young