Maraud/Guard Instinct Among BowerbirdsB

To: Harry Clarke <>
Subject: Maraud/Guard Instinct Among BowerbirdsB
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 21:24:07 +1000 (EST)
On Mon, 9 Apr 2001, Harry Clarke wrote:
> Has anyone out there come across references to evidence on bowerbirds and
> marauding?  Or on other bird species doing similar things? Please let me
> know if you do.

Reta Vellenga and her husband did a major study of Satin Bowerbirds in
their Leura (in Blue Mountains near Sydney) backyard colour-banding some
600 bowerbirds.  The data they gathered was the foundation for subsequent
work on bowerbirds by biologists such as Borgia.  I believe they were both
amateurs and the study was done after their retirement - although  I'm not
sure of this.  I was told about 15 years ago Reta was in a Blue Mountains
nursing home.  I guess she isn't still alive - maybe someone knows more?

I believe, among other things, they described theft and bower destruction.
I haven't read their papers but one ref is:
Vellenga, R.E. 1970 Behaviour of the male Satin Bower-bird  at the bower,
Australian Bird Bander 8: 3-11.

I believe Marshall (with others?) tracked theft by Satin Bowerbirds with
marked objects in Royal National Park.  I presume its in Marshall's book:
"Bower-Birds, Their Displays & Breeding Cycles. A Preliminary Statement."
Oxford Pres, 1954 which again I sadly haven't read.  Again maybe someone
knows more.

Andrew Taylor

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