Satin Bowerbird

Unexpected Visitor

Satin Bowerbird at Joblins.jpg

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been excited to see a bird that we have not encountered in the 20 years we have been keeping records in Spring Valley Road, Flowerdale. The Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) pictured above, normally resides in the higher rainfall areas of the Kinglake National Park and nearby Mt. Disappointment. This individual was spotted one morning taking advantage of pieces of bread normally scooped up by the tribe of magpies that call our property their territory.

We were kept entertained by the hopping antics and the strange noises this bird makes for 2 weeks. It seems with the advent of temperatures over thirty degrees, our unexpected visitor has returned to the cooler gullies of the surrounding forests.

The last time we were alerted to Bowerbirds in Flowerdale was by Chris Cobern from the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network. You can read further at this link; Ol’ Blue Eyes and the Power of the Bower. If you are in Flowerdale or surrounds, you may have seen the Bowerbird also. Let us know.



Ol’ Blue Eyes and the Power of the Bower



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).

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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.

Satin Bowerbirds are likely to be seen around the Flowerdale township. Let us know if you come across their bowers

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