Friday, October 7, 2011

The NESTING Series: Part Three: Bowerbirds

The third installment on the third week! I did it! This time I bring you good tidings of the great joy I found in researching the “nesting” practices of the beautiful Bowerbird! 

Bowerbirds, native to Australia and New Guinea, are my all-time favorite birds because of their elaborate mating rituals. All right, ya’ll. Hold onto your mice. (Mouses?) Because things are about to get steamy up in here.

First the male begins by building a “bower” which looks sort of like a short hallway/hut made of reeds and sticks. Sometimes he’ll even paint the walls of the bower with a mix of chewed up plant material and saliva that he applies to the surface with a leaf. Yeah, that’s right. This bird has got some mad regurgitating and smearing skillz. Then the male gathers things like stones, feathers, bits of plastic and tin foil, and fusses over arranging a colorful display around his bower while he waits for a lady friend to arrive. These carefully curated courtship “avenues” aren’t meant to be where they raise their young, however. Because the males are pretty plain in the feather department (unlike the flashy red male cardinals, for instance), the bower is intended to be the main attraction in enticing as many females over to his place as possible. The more experienced “lovers” tend to be older males who have been doing this sort of thing for a while, so their bachelor pads look nicer and more organized than the younger dudes down the block. Sometimes they’ll even steal things from their competition's collection, or even destroy their rival’s crib altogether. Man, that’s cold! I love the idea of the guy being the decorator in this scenario and the gal deciding which one she wants to get with based purely on how meticulously he lays out his wares. Once the lady decides this gentleman has got it goin’ on, she is lured across the threshold of his bower, and the mating can begin. Cue the Barry White music…

- Cathleen 

1 comment:

  1. Wow, quite some time ago I had seen a documentary on bowerbirds and I was completely absorbed and enthralled. Thanks for reminding me.


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