About the Bowerbird

The bowerbird from Australia builds a bower to attract mates. Bowers vary, depending on the species, but each male bird makes a structure of sticks, around which he places a variety of objects he has collected. These objects - usually of a hue to which the male in question is particularly attracted - may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, and even discarded plastic items or pieces of glass. In the case of the blue-black Satin Bowerbird, the particular attraction is to all things blue, from plastic drinking straws to clothes pegs and toothbrushes.

The bird spends hours carefully sorting and arranging his collection, with each object in a specific place; if an object is moved while the bowerbird is away he will put it back in its place. No two bowers are the same, and the collection of objects reflects the personal taste of each bird and its ability to procure unusual and rare items (even stealing them from neighbouring bowers). At mating time, the female goes from bower to bower, watching the male owner and inspecting the quality of the bower. Many females end up selecting the same male, and many under-performing males are left without a mate.

More about bowerbirds