Question to Bower Birds Observers!

Subject: Question to Bower Birds Observers!
From: "Fernao" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 17:39:11 -0000
I am from a far away country (Portugal), and i have been reading 
about bower birds. I find them quite puzzling. Currently I am doing 
some research on evolutionary biology and i came across with the 
idea that mutual sexual selection may operate almost in any 
species. While this idea is quite opposite to the current view which 
points to the fact that males show ornaments and females choose, 
i find that mutual sexual selection may also be at work but 
probably it is not so easily observable. Bower birds may be a 
simple case that seems to go against mutual sexual selection: 
males seem to build nest independently of the females that may or 
not come one day visit them. Hence they seem to support rather 
the common view that males show ornaments and that they would 
be willing to copulate with any female. They would not be moved by 
sexual preferences.

So I wondered what keen bird observers (sometimes not so 
attached to theories...) think about this? 
Just to give some support to my theory i would say that it is hard 
to imagine that hormones involved in sexual behavior stop unless a 
female in near a bower. I.e., these birds sexual lives shouold be 
seen in a much more contextual way: females and males would 
exchange signals well before a female would actually come to the 
bower, for instance when they search for food and so on. Hence, 
coming to visit the bower may also be seen as the outcome of a 
"long lasting relation". Females may come to the bower if they 
have been observing the male and the male have already been 
calling her attention, like flying close to her.

My question is: does this happen? Do males and females interact 
well before coming to the bower? Do we see some sort of 
performance of males towards females away from the bower?

If anybody may contribute with their own experience i would be 
glad to hear about it.

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