This is what the bower of a  satin bowerbird looks like (below right), with its collection of  predominantly blue  ‘treasures ‘, assembled to impress  the ladies.  I’m afraid the birds mostly  use  human trash these day, especially  bottle tops. Bowers were full of plastic straws in my village of Blackheath  until they were banned two years ago. In the old days blue berries, native flowers and bird feathers were gathered.

The bowers are built and maintained by the  mature, glossy black male when it reaches the age of about seven.

Male Satin Bowerbird

Master bower builder.

Bower of satin bowerbird

What a show.








Meanwhile, the juvenile male birds practice bower building, providing me with great entertainment. The plumage of the juveniles, like the females, is nothing like the glossy black adult males. They also have a blue, rather than a violet eye.

Juvenile male satin bowerbird

Handsome young chap.

Here is male bird well along the way to  attaining his blue/black plumage. He must be 5 or 6 years old.


The site chosen for the  ‘apprentice piece’ this year was behind a large Olearia  shrub, in the top corner of my Blue Mountains garden. Very private, so a good choice for a beginner..

Olearia bush

Location, location, location.


I noticed the young male busily  carrying sticks, mostly filched from the mulch I’d used on the woodland paths. He didn’t seem to get the design quite right, but  did his best.

Juvenile bowerbird's practice bower.

A fairly poor attempt.

Our resident Master Builder was clearly not impressed.

Adult satin bowerbird raiding juvenile's bower

This bower is a joke, young fellow.

The apprentice  decided that decoration might compensate for poor design.

Juvenile decorating half built bower

These will look good.

Unfortunately the old Master Builder kept stealing the sticks…..and also the milk bottle tops. For days there was a cycle of construction and destruction. That young bowerbird never gave up, but neither did he ever achieve his goal of a ‘proper’  bower. It was hopeless. The tiny blue flowers  of Lithodora he stole from me simply shriveled up and disappeared.

Satin bowerbird stealing flowers

Couldn’t fit much more in!

Satin bowerbird thief

Daylight robbery.

Bowerbird treasures.

A floor of flowers.










All in all it was remarkable  spring of intensive training.


Apprentice satin bowerbird's bower

The peak of achievement; a peg and one of my spring bulbs.

Maybe  next year he will do even better.

UPDATE – JULY 31 2018

The 2nd year apprentice has made an early start. Good luck Mate…..but it’s blue you want, not yellow. And not my flowers!


Apprentice bowerbird's bower

Hey, that was my first daffodil!

All I can say is, keep at it. I’ve supplied some material.

Juvenile Satin Bowerbird

Thanks Pauline, these are great!

As a test one day I put out a  large peanut butter lid, And yes, in heavy rain it was moved about 50 metres to the bower. What a feat. Perhaps this is explained by the enthusiasm of youth.

Satin bowebird treasure

UPDATE! – Wow, that lid has inspired him. The best effort yet.

I’m impressed.





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