Satin Bowerbird antics in Gloucester NSW

To: "" <>
Subject: Satin Bowerbird antics in Gloucester NSW
From: Penny Brockman <>
Date: Sun, 08 Jul 2007 23:07:59 +1000
Dear all

Have been amusing myself watching the behaviour of the young male SBB in my front garden. This I assume is the male that turned from green to black a few months ago - still has a few brownish feathers on flanks and belly. In my small front garden the Hakea laurina (Pincushion Hakea) is in full flower and attracting lots of birds - mainly Eastern Spinebills, Red Wattlebirds and lots of Satin Bowerbirds. The male has decided this is an opportunity too good to miss and has turned a patch of flattened sugarcane mulch under the tree into his display area. There are broken blue pens, blue straws, bottle tops and one short yellow straw strewn around, with a very pathetic attempt to build a bower - so far just a few sticks flat on the ground with today 2 standing upright. I am woken each morning with him hissing and churring as he dances around his treasures. Gets very excited when a green bird stops eating and drops down to have a look, when he ducks his head, raises and slightly flares his tail and quickly flips his wings open and closed as he dances around 'her' (do I assume it's a 'her'?); this can go on for 5 or more minutes, and sometimes he carries a cream flower in his bill. I guess that without a proper bower he won't get very far. Today a green bird made off with one of the blue bottle tops, later back in place.

Two days ago I was having coffee on the back deck when he landed on the edge 3 m from me with 3 sticks in his beak - dropped them, looked at me, then the sticks, picked them up again and flew off towards the front garden. Amazing what instinct makes birds do (and other animals for that matter). I think I'll collect some suitably sized sticks and see if he uses them - just to give him a hand - interfering with nature?

I've also watched a green SBB (female?) breaking off sticks in a tree and a White-headed Pigeon female doing the same so looks as if they are nest building. The weather's been unnaturally warm until today when rain and wind hit us, reminding us winter is not yet over. No doubt snow on Barrington Tops and glad to see rain out west.

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