For all those doubters, – the art of ‘Romance’ is not dead in Flowerdale. In fact there are males that go to extremes to prove they are worth a second glance.
Flowerdale is an interesting region with the Mt. Disappointment and Kinglake National Park at the southern end and drier, denuded or open woodland hills to the north. That means that birds of the shadier, moister gullies can sometimes be found at the southern end of Flowerdale.
In this case, it is the Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhyncus violaceus).
Note the grass bower on the forest floor to the left of the photo. Blue plastic is visible in front of the bower.
On a recent holiday break, Chris Cobern came across the Satin Bowerbirds unmistakeable bachelor pad in the bush. Typically strewn with blue baubles (plastic strips and bottle tops) this hopeful romantic had constructed a bower of dry grass and saliva on the chance that a passing female might see the merits of his decorative endeavours and enter his bower while he entertained her with a song and dance routine. What this individual lacks is the full satin black/blue plumage of a mature male which can take up to seven years to develop. So he is not likely to win over a mate just yet as females in the area will visit several bowers and choose the male with the most decorated lovenest, and best courtship routine. The winner takes all, often stealing trinkets from the bowers of less experienced males. A successful courtship ends with a brief mating within the bower. The female then heads off to build a nest some metres above the ground, where she brings up her brood on her own. Often a successful male will attract a number of females to mate with.