We at Ausemade are privileged to have enjoyed over the last eight years the presences in our backyard of the Western Bowerbirds and in particular the bower of a male Western Bowerbird. There underneath our magnificent olive tree, we witnessed a young male bird building and furnishing his bower, year after year.
We actually first knew about the Western Bowerbird, when we visited the Olive Pink Botanic Garden on the east side of the Todd River. It was here that we saw our first bower. Imagine our delight, when we then discovered a young male Western Bowerbird staking out a claim in our own backyard underneath our olive tree.
It was interesting to see after the first few flimsy attempts of building, how the bower became thicker and denser over the years and how the original scant treasures increasing in quantity and beauty year after year.
Of course over the years, there have been other male bower birds raiding his bower, with some even trashing the bower. Yet without fail, our resident bird would rebuild and refurbish his bower… all to attract and woo the ladies.
One of the interesting insights to our bower, I say “our bower” but in all fairness it belongs to our resident male western bower bird, are the treasures that accumulates in “our bower”.
In the very beginning the bower was quite sparse, but the young male soon realised that he need more trinkets and treasures if he was to entice the ladies. From the few initial green baby tomatoes, most likely from our Tommy Toe tomato bushes we had in the garden, it was amazing to see the variety of trinkets increase.
In the early years, it was mainly green items… young green small tomatoes, small limes no larger than a cherry and other similar sized green fruit. Our guava tree would often be raided for their developing green fruit, and even the olives from the branches of the olive tree above.
It wasn’t just green baubles, the bower bird brought back white items, from beautiful shiny white pebbles, small white bones of animals and also plastic items. White and grey plastic was the go, from straws, small juice containers, plastic bottle caps, zip ties, plastic disposable cutlery and plastic syringes. We even found shells including discarded oyster shells and a small white plastic toy vehicle. It is ironic that the bower bird considered our discarded waste as treasured items. Yet we can be thankful that unlike the waste that ends up in the waterways and oceans and consumed by many creatures, that these items in the bower are not eaten in mistake by the bower bird.
Of course in and around the bower there were also glass items, shards of green glass from broken bottles, glass marbles both green and yellow and some quite iridescent. There were two occasions over the years where we found a twenty cent piece and a fifty cent piece. The fifty cent piece was laid in the bower itself.
Other juvenile and male bowerbirds also hung around, maybe to marvel and also to pilfer some of the treasures. There have been a number of occasions over the years to see the bower itself quite bare (obviously the bower held the most desirable of items), raided by marauding interlopers and the bower itself almost destroyed. But our resident bowerbird would rebuild the bower, often by the next day, and slowly reacquiring the treasures.