one bowerbird or three

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cecilia
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one bowerbird or three

Once again (after an absence of two years) a Satin Bowerbird has constructed a bower in my garden. He's made a lovely job of it, using the long needle leaves of the various casuarina varieties nearby.

To the north of our garden, with a narrow road between me and the next property (all of one acre)are two gardens, each with an active bower bird's bower.

My question is - are there three bower birds, or probably just one?

The last time there was a bower in the garden, his display items changed almost daily. One day he would have several straws but no clothes pegs, and the next he would have stocked up on pegs but lost all his straws.

The bower in the garden furthest from us has quite a few blue toy soldiers, but so far these don't appear to have been looted by our bird.

Not getting much work done between keeping an eye on the bower birds and the resident swamp rats!
cecilia
www.duckpond-design.com.au/theduckpond

cecilia
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We all enjoy watching the activities of the bower birds, but I think they'd need to carry coloured tags for us to be able to identify them!

All year round we see groups of what I assume are juveniles, and I'd really appreciate a few clues on how to tell the difference between the juveniles and adult females.

I sat and watched what I assumed was an adult female being displayed to by the male, at the weekend. Such beautiful birds.

I've also been trying to narrow down their blue prefences by painting small discs and sticks and leaving them on nearby rocks. Ultramarine seems to be quite acceptable, but they also have some slightly different blues among the collection - will try cobalt blue next.

cheers
cecilia
www.duckpond-design.com.au/theduckpond

marj
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Juvenile males have pale bills and green upper breasts. Females have darker bills and the scalloped pattern all the way up the chest.

cecilia
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It was extremely busy in the bower today!

I was so thrilled to see your photos Denis, and was quite sure I'd be able to pick the female from the juvenile males.

Lunch time I went to the bower with my camera. First I saw the male and I thought there was a female with him, but then I realised there were about five or six birds - all swiping the treasures. (He's specially proud of his yellow cockatoo crest feather).

I took a couple of not very good photos (from a distance), but when I looked at them close up I'm still a bit confused over whether they are young juveniles or whether the big black fellow is so attractive he has acquired a whole harem?

I'd like to post the photos, but I can't find any directions on how.
cecilia
http://www.duckpond-design.com.au/theduckpond

cecilia
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Just remembered how to do the photo upload - so here are the two photos I took today.

cecilia
www.duckpond-design.com.au/theduckpond

cecilia
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marj
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Yes Denis, it has to be the full URL starting with http:// - your signature link does not appear as a clickable link.

marj
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Maureen was sure her bird was a young male because it was collecting and re-arranging bower objects - but it is clearly a female.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/maureeng/2457993909/

ed
ed's picture

here are a few shots (young males I think) of the race 'minor' from north queensland

Ed Townsville NQ

ed
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not sure what happened, maybe missed some brackets!!

Ed Townsville NQ

cecilia
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I find this all extremely interesting, as I had assumed that a group of bowerbirds gathered around one of the grevilleas (alpina) last spring were all young males, but not it looks as if they were a group of females.

Would it be a bit 'overkill' to post photos of the individual birds?
cecilia
www.duckpond-design.com.au/theduckpond

marj
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It's not until males are in their third year that they develop the green throat that distinguishes them from the females.

They don't get their blue-black coat until five or six.

cecilia
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Well - now I'm even more confused. So how do I tell if the birds with the scallops all the way up their throats are juveniles that haven't developed green throats or females that have?

Can someone give me a chronological metamorphis(sp)step by step from first feathers to adult. I can see I'm going to have to spend even MORE time in the garden!

Here are photos of five of the group I mentioned in my previous post. Please allow for the fact that the photos were taken through the not exactly squeaky clean kitchen window.

There were more birds in the group but I only managed to get a back view of them.





cecilia
http://www.duckpond-design.com.au/theduckpond

marj
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A chicken sexer might be able to give you some hints on telling the very young males from females :-)

These look like young birds to me - sort of rounder and fluffier plus the fact that they hang in a group.

Avifaunae
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Just in the last week, a group of 6 females have taken up residency in a huge non-native pine species covered in bloody ivy in our neighbours property. Last year I spotted a male and female in the same tree (can't remember what time of year it was though) - this morning there was a male showing off to three somewhat interested females. But I am under the impression that WINTER is NOT breeding time? I am aware that it is normal behaviour for the females to be seen in groups and that males are usually solitary. The females have been spending their day feeding on our property and further down in the valley. The native minors are extremely upset that these girls are moving in! Got some great video footage of the male showing off and some great close ups of the females feeding on our property.

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