A fair number of you responded to my post, Who Knows What This Is? (some demanding presents, some not). If you haven’t, take a quick look at that post and make a guess before scrolling down.
So, ladies and gentlemen, that pygmy hut looking thing is a vogelkop bowerbird’s fancy bower. There’s a lot of ways to pick-up a female in the animal world, and these bowers I’ve photographed are the male bower bird’s elaborate masterpiece to in attempt to get with one. A elaborate maypole-bower, like the one shown above, may take years to build and decorate with fruits, nuts, shiny beetles, and colorful pieces of plastic. Active males will inspect, prune, and rearrange their bowers every few hours during the day, which is a fascinating display. Female bowerbirds will sometimes swoop down to inspect the bower, and if the cards are played right, a lovely chic will one day approve it and be equally turned on as the male.
It’s been a real treat to actually see them in real life after studying them in my Animal Behavior class last spring. Although, I wasn’t expecting to be greeted by the voice of growling leopard when I stalked down one male bowerbird (who are wonderful at mimicking a multitude of weird sounds like a leopard) deep in the Papuan jungle. The funny thing is, I don’t think there are any big cats in Papua for the bowerbird to learn to growl like that. But, the worst part is when you being to wonder where those bowerbirds found all those colorful and shiny pieces of plastic in the one of the most remote regions of the world…
Also, watch this video: