Bowerbird Animal Behavior Sequence Video
Bowerbirds are unique passerines known for its elaborate courtship behavior. They mingle with females and juveniles feeding on the same areas but when it comes to the breeding period, September to February, they exhibit unique features. The male Satin Bowerbird starts to build a structure, a bower, with sticks that joins together with a glue made with vegetable material and saliva. During 6 months he continually cares for the bower almost fanatically. He puts ornaments around it, changing places, changing objects to attract females. When it considers it appropriate the Satin makes a display with grunting notes and grasps while arranging/carrying the jewels. He has to fight against curious juveniles robbing sticks and trying to practice the skills, working from dawn to dusk. Sometimes when everything seems to go well, in the end the female does not accept the mating, in others, for and unknown reason, it seems that it is the right time, the females opens the cloaca and puts herself in position in the bower, he displays and shows the penis, all set?, no, all of a sudden he flees. Very few times the mating is done, he has six months to do the job Nature assigned him to do
to preserve the species.
These scenes were filmed on the Great Dividing Range in QLD, the Killarney region. A bit shy at first the Satin accepted me after some hrs and did not have the need for a blind. The first two days I stayed there from dawn to dusk but the job was repetitive and monotonous. Once a female approached and got scared so I decided to put the camera there and change batteries and card every hour, checking the footage later and it paid off. I used this technique when filming hummingbirds. There I could trace where the shot was by the humming sound recorded. Here there wasn’t such help and I had to go over the dozens of hours visually to find the useable clips.
Cinematography by Carlo Ferraro