Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Artist Lives Here / The Bower Bird

I have always thought that if I was going to be a bird I would be a red tailed hawk because when I see them they take my breath away, they are my favorite feathered friend here in East Dallas. With that said, today while listening to NPR I discovered a bird that I may truly have the most kinship to and that is the male Bower Bird.  He is an artist and an interior decorator. Although their distribution is centered on the tropical regions of New Guinea and northern Australia, some species extend into central, western, and southeastern Australia. They occupy a range of different habitats, including rain forest, eucalyptus and acacia forest, and shrub lands.

The male bower bird decorates his bower with brightly colored found objects that range from natural berries to plastic toys and bottle caps. He arranges them all meticulously to attract the female. He even understands perspective and will in fact arrange objects in a way to make himself  appear larger. They arrange objects in the bower's court area from smallest to largest, creating a forced perspective which holds the attention of the female for longer. Males with objects arranged in a way that have a strong optical illusion are likely to have higher mating success.When you go in and move the items around he will return to his bower and put things back in their proper place.

I love this bird ... he looks like a natural mosaic artist to me ... finding bits and pieces and placing them thoughtfully in the perfect spot. He often will work in one color scheme.

Here is a video that shows a Bower Bird in action:

You might also want to check out Tim Laman's amazing photos of Bower Birds and their decor.

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