Tuesday, August 28, 2012

AUGUST AGAIN


It's become a major feature of August - the call of the Blue Satin Bower Bird and the discovery of his courting room. I've made note of it here, and here, and here. The fascination gets no less.

This year he has excelled himself with the blue temptations spread radially around the bower. And just where he's collected them from I have no idea. None around here and we are quite isolated. This is just off the drive through the bush to the house and built while we were away.



8 comments:

marcellous said...

Built while the dog also was away. Is it dog-proof, now that she's back?

wanderer said...

Actually, I don't think the dog is interested in the bower at all. She's only interested if it moves. The bower is the (very private) courting room for the polygamous male and well hidden. This one is tucked under the long arching straps of the Lomandra (grass).

They are very shy and despite all the signs of busy housekeeping I've never seen any action at the bower. Maybe they do it at sunrise.

Susan Scheid said...

The courting room is so graceful!

wanderer said...

And Susan just how he builds it beggars belief. And the collection of 'blue', his bedroom decorations, his come-hither, confounds me equally.

Friko said...

Because I went over to Susan's I found you.
I am so glad I did.

wanderer said...

Hello there Friko - we must stay in touch.

David said...

Forgive my confusion - is the 'blue' because of the plumage or is it pure coincidence that this amazing bird collects blue gewgaws? Does he do the same every year?

Here, alas, the plain old (but oh so songful) blackbirds have disappeared, as they've done every August - I'd think they were just silent if it weren't for the unused birdbath.

wanderer said...

Yes David the same every year, every August. I'm not sure how "Blue" was co-opted into the name Satin Bower Bird - Ptilonorhynchus violaceus.

Certainly there's the remarkably distinct violet (violaceus) eyes and sometimes a flash, or rather blush, in the feathers in flight, depending on the light. But otherwise the male is a black bird, larger and more plump than the English black bird,(rambling alert) another import by homesick expats, like the rabbit and Lantana, but considerably less invasive, which I expect to visit us later this spring as they move up the east coast bringing their lovely lilting song which sounds distinctly soft and almost effete in the harsh landscape. Where was I? Oh ...

The female Bower Bird is a mottly plain brown.

But I suspect the "blue" does more derive from the mad collection of decorative blue bits (geegaws indeed) the male collects to convince the female who makes repeat visits to different bowers in the quest for the right mate (best, first, edu, diplo ..) the he is the right one.

The older the male the more blue he collects (better visual perception I gather) - you know, the old story of the female selecting the male who gives the appearance of being the best able to provide. Fast cars and fat wallets etc.

Every garden needs a birdbath.