Saturday, 18 June 2011

Decorating and the art of seduction: tips from the bowerbird

This is probably one of the most incredible things you will ever see.

If you haven't seen the bowerbird in action before, I highly recommend watching this clip from the BBC's Life series. The male bowerbird builds a structure and decorates it with brightly coloured objects in order to attract a mate. The structure alone is highly impressive, using pillars to hold up the curving roof, but the bird's collecting and decorating behaviour is astonishing. The male collects great piles of small objects, placing them around the entrance to the bower to make it attractive to females. Each male has his own taste in d├ęcor, favouring certain colours over others, and will choose flowers, leaves, stones, feathers, shells, berries, fungus, charcoal, dung or even shiny beetles (which have the disadvantage of not staying where they are placed) to achieve the desired effect. Some birds will use man-made objects which have been discarded in the area, such as plastic, glass, nails, coins or rifle shells, spending hours arranging their collections in the hope of seducing a mate.

Here's the video. Perhaps you could pass it on to any lonely bachelors you know.

I particularly like the male's celebratory dance at the end.

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