Secrets of the Blue Satin Bowerbird

Every morning I see the same little bird busy around the branches across from my window. Wondering about the commotion, I take my camera out and see to my amazement a beautifully woven, intricate bower, surrounded by blue treasures.

blue satin bowerbird nest

This is the courting stage, or bower, of the blue satin bower bird. The male is noted for its iridescent blue-black plumage.

To win the heart of a female, the male weaves an arena from hundreds and hundreds of individually collected twigs, all a similar diameter.

twigs in the nest

In the centre he erects two upswept wings which enclose a circular stage. Surrounding the stage he places found objects, both natural and man-made, which must be of a bright blue colour.

These include feathers from the crimson and blue rosella, bottle tops, and wayward plastic remnants from all kinds of packaging and garden pots.

birds on bird feeder

The female bower bird has a mottled green and brown plumage, providing ideal camouflage in Australia’s eastern states bushland.

To attract her attention, he hops onto a bough above the bower and sings and dances. As one approaches, he flies down to the bower and lifts various blue treasures up to show her.

female blue satin bowerbird

The females are very particular. Some fly off after barely a glance at his labour of love. However, it is not uncommon for the male to attract a “harem” of females around him during mating season. Let us hope our little male wins many hearts this autumn.

blue satin bowerbird in a tree

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