Satin Bowerbird questions: Yellow petals and advertisement calls

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Satin Bowerbird questions: Yellow petals and advertisement calls
From: David Adams <>
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2011 18:57:45 +1100
There's an adult male Satin Bowerbird in my neighborhood that passes
through my property on its way to and from where I presume its bower
is. (I haven't crashed into the underbrush to confirm this as I don't
want to disturb the bird at the bower.) Today, I saw the male land in
the yard and actively collect yellow Dahlia flower petals. Do they
normally collect yellow items? Every bower that I've ever seen for
this species has been full of predominantly blue items and I can't
remember anything bright yellow.

Second question: Our back yard has a tall gum where the male Satin
stops and pauses in the canopy. From this position, I can't ever
remember him making a call. On the opposite side of the street, I
regularly observer the same individual in a different tree at a
similar height. In both cases, he's in the canopy and pretty well
obscured from above - but in the second tree he makes a call that I
only hear in this context. It doesn't sound like any of the usual
growling/chortling/scratching/modem noises that I hear from other
Satin Bowerbirds. Instead, it's a simpler call - a rising and then
long falling note. (It seems pretty hopeless trying to describe calls
in general, and I'm not particularly good at it on a good day.) In any
case, the call is distinctive enough for me to recognize it, even at a
distance. I've only ever heard it come  from an adult male Satin
Bowerbird - never from any other Bowerbird in the area. I've been
guessing for some time that this call is an advertisement for a bower.
The tree he uses for this call has changed between years - he used to
make this call about 50 meters away. In any case, I figure that if
this a bower advertisement behavior, that it's probably pretty well
known and widely observed. Does it sound like I'm on the right track

Thanks for any comments,

David Adams
Near Bermagui, NSW

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