Monday, 9 October 2017

Our Resident Satin Bowerbird

We are so very fortunate to share our garden with a male Satin Bowerbird. For at least fifteen years he, or his predecessors, have built bowers in the same location, underneath murraya bushes.

Satin Bowerbird

With his violet-blue eyes, he's quite striking, isn't he! In the right light, his shiny, black colour takes on a blue sheen.


His bower is decorated with blue objects he has collected - straws, pegs, bottle tops. There's even a watch band! Most of the objects are scattered within one metre of the bower.

Mr TMW and the kids thought it would be fun to do an experiment.

They placed thirteen bottle lids just over two metres from the bower - two light blue, ten dark blue and one green. And waited to see which ones, if any, he would take to his bower.


Within minutes he took the first four lids. He even managed to pick up two lids in one go. The kids were most excited - us too. We hadn't really expected him to take any while we were there, watching from several metres away.


By the next morning, only four lids remained where the kids had put them. He obviously prefers dark blue, as that's all he took. 

Satin Bowerbird

He's not completely averse to lighter shades of blue though, as there are a few lighter coloured items in amongst the predominantly dark blue ones around his bower.


We call the bowerbird our friend, as he's quite tame with us. While we're gardening, he seems to show no fear and often comes to within a metre of where we are working or sitting.

On telling the kids this, Little Mister decided to see how close he could come. Over time, he, too, was able to come as close as one metre. It took patience, slow gentle movements, and several goes. 

Satin Bowerbird

The photo above shows the bowerbird and his bower a couple of days ago.

We're not sure why, but yesterday afternoon the bower was completely flattened. We are assuming the destruction was done by rival male bowerbirds while ours was away from the bower.

It was fascinating to watch him rebuild his bower over several hours. When I came inside on dark, he was still building. 

We feel honoured to share our garden with this satin bowerbird. The fact that it's native to Australia, makes it even more special.

Do you have any animals or birds that visit, or live where you are?

... Pam




17 comments:

  1. It was most interesting to read about the Bowerbird and I enjoyed the great photos.

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  2. I've never heard of a bower bird - so pretty. We had a pair of eagles spend the fall with us atop the tallest douglas firs. They ended up moving on. Then there are my territorial hummingbirds (rufus) who stay for my flowers. If I run out of sugar nectar, they start dive bombing me, telling me to make some more. We don't have really tame birds though - too many predators.

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  3. How marvelous that you have a bowerbird share your garden! I saw a documentary on birds some months ago that featured the bowerbird, showed the bower he build and his mating dance. Quite interesting!

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  4. I love birds! I really enjoyed visiting with your bowerbird. We have a pair of wrens that roost in our roll up blinds. One day we put one of them up crocked which left a little pocket on one side and they took to it. So we just leave that one up all the time now so they can sleep there safely at night. Once they start nesting again next spring we can lower it again (and probably need to or they may nest in it--tho they are very clean nesters, as we have had many nearby in the past). Thanks for taking the time to share with us your garden and wild friends.

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  5. This is so cool! We have a couple bird feeders and a bird bath, but mostly get smaller birds. I've never seen one of these. I like his bower. It is like his nest. He is definitely quite striking. Thanks for the post.

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    1. A very striking bird indeed, Danette. We are so lucky. I'm not sure where he roosts at night.

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  6. How fascinating! I never heard of a bowerbird before. We just have chipmunks, rabbits, and squirrels mostly in our yard. Although at night there are raccons, possum, and skunks who come down from the trees. There are a lot of birds here. Sometimes in the summer I can even spot a hummingbird. My favorie are cardinals, especially in the winter when the male cardinal's striking red feathers contrast with the dreary landscape.

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    1. We have possums, too, but not raccoons or skunks. I love hummingbirds, but have never seen them in real life - only on the TV.

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  7. What a beautiful bird. Thank you for sharing him with us. I live in an apartment on the 5th floor with a small balcony but I'm still able to attract hummingbirds in the summer and suet feeders bring woodpeckers. I also put peanuts out for bluejays who are quite brazen in letting me know if the supply has run low.

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  8. Wow, how special! Great experiment too! How funny that he loves a certain type of blue! No birds around our place in Arabia except doves on the window sills of our apartment... ! xx

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  9. Oh my goodness what a great story - I bet this will be one of those memories that the kids will pass on to their own kids! I've never heard of a bower bird - he's definitely a fine looking lad!

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  10. I hadn't heard of a bower bird either Pam, his eye colour is amazing and what fun for your grandchild to get so close to him.

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  11. How interesting! What a beautiful bird. How lovely that you can admire him right in your own garden.

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  12. Such a gorgeous bird. I love those Liz Taylor eyes. We have many bird feeders and bird baths so we get many visitors. Sparrows, finches, doves, wrens, woodpeckers, hummingbirds (who hover in the window if their feeders are low) and lots of birds I don't recognize. But my favorite is the hawk who hangs around and the little birds don't mind him but the neighborhood cats stay away.

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  13. This is so cool! Nope, I've never gotten to this level of comfort with the birds around here despite feeding them specialty seeds.

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