Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Satin Bowerbirds in all their Glory

The dominant male of the local Satin Bowerbird harem turned up on the Feeder table yesterday afternoon, in brilliant sunlight. He even felt sufficiently relaxed to allow me to take some images, from a lounge chair inside the back door (open just enough for us to see eachother).

What follows is largely a photo essay, because, the male bird is so magnificent, in itself, that words are largely superfluous.

Male Satin Bowerbird - on feeder, being "watchful".
The Scientific name is Ptilonorhynchus violaceus
That linked name takes you to the Birds in Backyards site, to tell you more.Getting down to it.
Beak on the side, to get a really good peck at the soft fruit.
Note the really fine feathers above the beak, and how they shine.
This shows the ivory-coloured beak
and the magnificent violet coloured eye, diffused with red veins.
Pausing for another good look at me.
And here he is swallowing a bit piece of Pear.
Slight movement blur, as he is very fast.
What I did not show was that there was a juvenile bird
waiting while the dominant male occupied the table.
As soon as he flew, the juvenile came up for its share.
That's called "pecking order" in action.
The youngster popped up, once the table was free.
Here is stops to make its growling call.
You can see the soft gape, typical of a young bird
I hope to display some photos soon of mature females, which have much finer plumage on the chest and abdomen than this bird, which has a cream base-colour with strong "lunette" (crescent) marked feathers.

Note the strong bronze colour on the wings of this "green bird".That colour shows up very clearly as these birds fly.


7 comments:

mick said...

They are beautiful birds and you have some great photos of their plumage. I think my next project must be some sort of bird feeding platform. You can certainly attract the birds in closer.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick
The Bowerbirds are very common here, and are the second-top ranked birds. Currawongs clean things up faster and they win on the Pecking Order.
Careful what you feed them, or rather, depending on what you have at your house. My brother lives on the coast, and he gets Lorikeets which "mob" the feed, and nothing else gets a go, it seems.
Most people use a shallow bowl and put seed out. But I refuse to do that, as the seed gets wet here, and then you have a messy soup, full of weed seed. That's why I have gone with the flat table, and the "spikes" (Screws poked up from below).
But I never get any parrots, because of the limited food I put out.
Cheers
Denis

Denis Wilson said...

PS - I don't have Lorikeets in my area. They would love the fruit. But the main seed eaters in the district are Rosellas, which so far have taken no notice of my food.
Denis

mick said...

Thanks for the further info Denis. Hmmm. I really don't need any more Lorkikeets! I can see that the wet seed would be a bit of a problem. Maybe I could design a roof over the whole thing. More careful thought needed!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
.
Actually a roof would be good, as many birds feel quite exposed, sitting on the corner of my deck.
.
Lewins Honeyeaters are nervous nellies.
.
It was better for them when I had a tree adjacent, but it caused other problems with the house.
.
Simple sloping tin roof would be easy and not require much to hold it up.
Leave space for it to feel "open" so birds can fly in and out readily.
.
I am sure you will work something out.
Cheers
Denis

lynds said...

Wow, you are so lucky to have bower birds in your yard! More beautiful photos, I've never seen the colour of the male's eyes before, amazing.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Lynds
Thanks. I agree I am lucky, but it goes with the territory, literally.
Everybody who tries to grow fruit or vegies in Robertson complains about them. It is only the Birdwatchers who like them, particularly, but everybody agrees the Blue Birds are beautiful.
It is the marauding gangs of females and juveniles who do the damage, for they have the numbers.
.
Males take 7 years to reach the Blue stage. So the blue birds are vastly outnumbered by the greens.
.
That in itself is fascinating.
.
Cheers
Denis