Overactive Golden Bowerbird

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Overactive Golden Bowerbird
From: "Alan's Wildlife Tours" <>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2012 09:15:36 +1000
Yesterday, I spent a wonderful morning with a Danish birder at Mt Hypipamee watching a very active Golden Bowerbird at his bower. The bird was bringing sticks of inordinate size, either in length or thickness but not both to his bower. He did this on five occasions while we were there and also visited one other time with no decoration. When we arrived he was not seen but soon showed up and complained about us being right beside his bower. We backed off. He flew away and came back with a twig about 600 mm long, breaking off a third of it on a branch as he flew in. He then left the bower and performed a few short displays similar to those conducted for females but in a directionless manner and without the nape and crown erected. Wondering if there was a female around I took my guest further away. He displayed briefly on and off over a period of half an hour but it all seemed to be 'practice,' not directed at another bird or at us. I have never seen so much action at a bower with only the owner present.

This bird only came to my attention late last year but one friend thinks that it has been known for some time. My impression is that it is a rather naive bird. Until Christmas it only had a maypole with a display perch on a leafy low side branch of one of the support saplings. His decorations have always been rather jumbled but now he has added more than the half dozen sticks to leafy side of the cross and is more organised with his decorations. Lichens are now only placed on the leafy side but Melicope fruit on both. About Christmas a small branch fell close to the base of the bower about 70* angle to his current display perch. This branch links the bower to a small sapling a bit over a metre from the bower and he has now started adding twigs along that branch and around the sapling. On one recent visit there was a single piece of lichen on the twigs on this sapling and so I suspect it may be the beginnings of a tower for next season.

I know of two cache sites for this bird. For those interested but who didn't follow the link given previously here is a bird feeding from his cache in 2010.


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