Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Crazy Eyes - (Satin Bowerbirds)

Here are some images of the heads of Satin Bowerbirds.

One cannot help but be fascinated by these birds when they are so active in one's backyard.

A female Satin Bowerbird.
The eye colour shows blue in this image (no red),
but that might be a factor of the light (at the time this shot was taken)
or possibly it might even be a factor of the season.
Note the dark beak of the female
and the yellow flecked feathers on the throat.
Bowerbirds are not easily ignored.

This one is an immature male.
It is developing the bone-coloured beak.
Its head and neck feathering is smoother (less harsh markings)
than the female and juvenile birds.
Besides, who can ignore these crazy eyes?

The Male, in prime condition like this is not to be ignored.
He dominates everything in the backyard,
with the exception of the Pied Currawongs.
These birds are more likely to hang around
(than the Currawongs),
so they end up getting the "lion's share" of fruit on the table.


greenspace said...

great photos!

when I was at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden a few years ago a big male Satin Bowerbird landed on the picnic table where my mum and I were sitting. We moved to another table and admired him from a safe distance.

ValeriaVine said...

crazy beautiful....never really looked close enough to see the colour of the eye.

mick said...

They are beautiful birds - and their eyes are magnificent! They must be very happy indeed to have someone put out fruit for them the way you do! Down in NSW we used to have them come around for ripe fruit too - but the fruit was on the trees and we were not so happy to have them. They ate some fruit, destroyed a whole lot more, and generally made a big mess.

Wilma said...

Cracking shots of crazy eyes! I had no idea how intense the blue and red of their eyes could be. You sure did get some great pictures.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick, Wilma and ValeriaVine.
Its hard not to be impressed by these eyes.
I had a broken pane of glass in my back door, last week (a victim of strong winds) and I replaced it with clear Laminated glass. The previous window was frosted glass - now I can see so much more bird activity just outside on the back deck.
So I keep seeing these amazing eyes - staring at me.
I risk becoming obsessed!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Greenspace
Up close they can be a bit intimidating.
Normally they are very shy.
But obviously they are used to getting a free feed at Mt Tomah Bot Gdns.
Its great to see them so close.

Tyto Tony said...

Eye colour also appears to play part in some bower decoration colour preferences. Seems bit unfair, that Satins get both magnificent glossy plumage and vivid eyes. The plainer BBs must make do with, say, nothing more than touch of colour about the nape.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
Just out of curiosity I checked the Regent BB, and it too has weird eyes - bright staring yellow.
I noticed your Golden BB had drab eyes (but otherwise great colour.
I assume that the Regent collects golden "toys".
One source says: they "mix a muddy greyish blue or pea green "saliva paint" in their mouths which they use to decorate their bowers."
NSW DECC says: "He paints it yellow, using a mixture of saliva and the juice of crushed leaves. The avenue is decorated with snail shells, berries, pebbles and leaves, all of a red-black or yellow-brown colour."
I have heard that the drab northern ones make do with snail shells, etc (and a glass eye in one famous case).
The New Guinea ones apparently look drab, but build fancy Bowers.
I could not figure out the structure of your Golden BB's Bower.
Just found this:
"The male Golden Bowerbird builds a maypole type of bower of one or two towers of sticks up to 3m tall with a display perch. Skilfully laid sticks connect the towers and decorations are placed on them. These are often white, off-white and pale green orchids, jasmine, other flowers, seedpods and lichens.
The sticks become glued together by the action of fungi after some time."
So that helps explain the white mass of fungal mycelium visible in your image.