Editor Des has been bird watching with me for the last few months, and becoming quite the ‘twitcher’. Unfortunately he has a lot to learn, which recently led to a head injury…. and a severe knock to his confidence.

It should be remembered that a male satin bowerbird is master of his domain. Intruders, unless they happen to be gorgeous lady bowerbirds, are not usully welcome. However, over the past few years I have established an unusual rapport with our local bird and he graciously accepts my presence. Desmond unwisely assumed that this privilege somehow extended to him.

Off he went a few days ago to see if the bower was being maintained now that winter has arrived. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of picking up one of the blue treasures and unknown to him, one very angry bird sneaked up behind.

Oh good grief, seconds later Des was under attack. It was terrible to watch.

The result was a serious case of concussion.

Editor Des recovering from a bird attack.

When poor Des recovered I suggested he pop along and explain that he hadn’t been intending to steal the treasure and that he was very sorry. So off he went; nervous, but full of hopeful enthusiasm… ‘Hello in there, anyone home?’

Yes, he was home alright, but in no mood for conciliation. ‘Look, just stop annoying me and GO AWAY!’


Dear me Des. Perhaps you should take along a little peace offering. He likes yellow things as well as blue, how about cadging a feather from Mr Cockatoo?

Old Cocky was surprisingly co-operative and allowed Des to choose a small specimen. Well you couldn’t expect him to ruin his crowing glory, could you? Let’s see if this tactic works eh?

‘Hey Mr Bowerbird, I’ve got something very special for you. It’s a designer accent piece, come out and look.’

There was an ominous silence, but suddenly a glossy black head appeared; ‘Hmm, well that’s quite a nice gesture young fellow. OK, I’m sorry I gave you such a hard time. It’s been a long season and quite frankly I’m a bit tired and crabby.’

An offering.

All’s well that ends well, as they say. The bowerbird even discusses the construction of his bower with Des now. ‘Do you think I need a new roof rafter up there Mate?’

Editor Des, bower building consultant.

Des said it would be a good idea. He has worked as a builder’s apprentice and knows a fair bit. A bower has to be the best in the area, and complacency is just not an option.

Satin bowerbird carrying out a repair.
Small repair job.

So there you are. A little bit of communication works wonders. I think I can say that Editor Des and Mr Satin Bowerbird ended up pretty good friends.

POSTSCRIPT – Desmond decided that next time he visited the bower he would wear his old blue duffle coat. That way he should be accepted as a beloved treasure, and blend right in

Des in his bird watching coat.

And did his strategy work? Well it certainly did. Mr Bowerbird just went about his business while Editor Des sat very still and watched.

Editor Des as a blue and yellow bowerbird's treasure.
Editor Des pretending to be a bowerbird's treasure.
Editor Des blends in as a bowerbird's blue and yellow treasure

Des wrote a bird story himself once, about kookaburras. If you want to read it, CLICK HERE

  1. this could scare the bower bird away if people are interfering with its nest. i love your writing but please respect the birds personal space.

    • Pauline

      Don’t worry Sally. As I mentioned in the piece, I have been interacting with this bird for a long time, over three years. Breeding season is over now. I would never do anything that might scare it. Of course the bowerbird nests are high up in the trees.

  2. Love it! Those bower birds are quite the critters, aren’t they? But they certainly are interesting birds to look at and to learn about. Thanks for the story, Pauline.

  3. I don’t know what the bear population is in Blackheath, but probably better if Editor Des sticks to his own kind. It might be safer – for him and everyone concerned.

  4. I don’t know what the bear population is in Blackheath, but might be better if Editor Des sticks to his own kind. Safer for everyone I reckon

    • Pauline

      I think you’re right. Have had a serious talk to him.

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