Over the years that I have been writing here you may well have noticed that we often come across Great Bowerbirds‘ bowers. The contents of Great Bowerbirds‘ bowers are mostly green and white and depending on the location the items may be natural or man-made. Bones feature heavily in the bowers in Keep River National Park. There’s a good mixture of both man-made and natural items on display in the bowers at Big Horse Creek and Katherine Gorge National Park. It is always amazing to watch a relatively dull looking male bird display the bright pink feathers on the back of its head.

All along the eastern coast of Australia there are Satin Bowerbirds Ptilonorhychus violaceus. The male Satin Bowerbird is a large distinct bird that appears black or blue depending on the light. The female Satin Bowerbird is a bird that I have not been able to photograph and is a dull olive green colour and could be mistaken for a Green Catbird, but has a blue eye to distinguish it.

Male Satin Bowerbird

Instead of collecting green and white items they have an obsession with blue. The Satin Bowerbirds that we have encountered have been close to human habitation and as such the items have been mostly man-made. It would appear that they do have a particular fondness for blue clothes pegs, blue bottle tops and blue string.

Natural blue items that we have discovered in Satin Bowerbirds‘ bowers have been feathers from Crimson Rosellas and the small flowers belonging to hyacinth.

Satin Bowerbird bower and items surrounding it

I have found it tricky to photograph a male Satin Bowerbird rearranging items within the bower and the surrounding area due to the presence of natural items in the landscape! The procedure is just the same as with the Great Bowerbird and they are constantly rearranging the items in the hope of attracting a female.

Male Satin Bowerbird in a bower

As you can see from the photographs it is a lot easier to find a Satin Bowerbirds‘ bower in the bush than a Great Bowerbirds‘ bower due to the bright blue colours that they collect. It would be very interesting to find a Satin Bowerbirds‘ bower that was so far from human habitation that it had to only use natural items and discover just how many items it would collect.

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!