highlights, SEQ, 500m

Subject: highlights, SEQ, 500m
From: Judith Lukin-Amundsen <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 15:38:10 +1000
PAGE 2 (of 3)

Over the past couple of weekends, 'our' Satin Bowerbirds have engaged us, as always, with new sights. Workshopping continues among the green birds, but the role of the blue male M2 in teaching is at present diminished, and a green bird, identifiable by something white stuck alongside his eye, has taken up tutoring one or more of the younger green birds. Though his displays and calls are more abbreviated than those of M2, nevertheless he seems to have well-developed posturing, and is careful in selecting and holding the yellowish offering used in the dance. The younger birds are most attentive.
        On Sunday we cleared one of our garden-beds of runaway Erigiron groundcover, working into the dusk to get the job done. Next morning we had the amazing spectacle of all the bower birds 'anting' excitedly from the newly exposed soil, just at the spot where the sun had begun to warm it. What they were applying to their underwings from this ground, though, we could not see... That evening I read Alec Chisolm on the subject of anting: it need not, he said, be ants that are used: mothballs, cigar-butts, pyrethrum-type leaves, beetles - all these and more had been brought to his attention from all over the world. But the name for this procedure had been agreed among humans to be 'anting'! AC also believed that the experience was pleasurable to the birds.
        Meanwhile, the blue male M1's bower did appear to be listing sadly some days ago, but by Sunday he had completely rebuilt it, with another slight shift north-westerly, its architecture finer and sturdier than ever before, and now with its compass orientation running more east-westerly - perhaps because the sun is in the north all day at present? For such a solid re-structure, M1 was obliged to collect a good deal of new stick-material. He walked about under the cypresses near 'his' garden-bed - and indeed he did 'walk' the head-clearance here being so low that he was obliged to be bi-pedal the entire time he was under there. The low roof did not, however, stop a Brush Wattlebird swooping in with a clap of wings to strike at him.

S-E Qld
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