ODIMBAR (One Day I Might Be A Raptor) was not here on 5 April 2017, but had set up his court by 14 April. From behaviour we have considered that he is newly adult-fledged, but he could be an older bird who has shifted his court. It is autumn and the courting that dominates reporting on bowerbirds is not due till spring.

As we begin this blog on 16 April 2017, we already have our hearts in our mouths, concerned that this new family member outside our suburban bedroom window will survive the competition and that his court may thrive. His day is busy: hunting, building, learning, asserting, defending, charming, singing, raucous caucusing and dancing.

And the evidence before us, of daily life, is much more complex than what one usually reads or views on Youtube, of isolated males building bowers in spring to try to entice picky females with whom their relations are fleeting. It's not like that at all here.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

interactions Sunday 16 April

We are not sure in the early morning whether the number of blue objects in front of the bower is decreased, though that is what it seems. I must establish a system for photographing the forecourt of the bower regularly from a fixed position. As also I need to invest to provide the camera with a microphone outside the window. And of course I have to improve my camera work. I have during the morning made some adjustments to saturation, etc, to get the images clearer. Meanwhile the actors won't wait.

[Apologies for scritchy scratchy noises in films, camera on window]

Here came a fair maid who turned out to be a thief. What are we to make of this? I am not a natural scientist or ornithologist, but have degrees in anthropology and defence studies. IF, IF, this shiny dark male, Odimbar, is newly thus feathered, he was recently a green coloured bird, like other young males looking like the females. But what happens as a male shifts from adolescence to maturity? Do mates still want to hang out, do they want to become blue bottle top collectors too? Is the collaboration or competition or just adolescent mucking about. Most importantly, what comes first, a biosocial prompt to shift plumage or an advance in blue-thing collection? Does the social activity prompt the biology or vice-versa?

Olympus E-PL5 at 40mm (80mm equiv)

That little film captures one moment of peer interaction. There had been a lot of others hanging around and mucking about, seemingly irritating Odimbar.

But then a very different social situation developed, which requires longer film. A green (female?) bird spent minutes working with Odimbar including in the bower. The thumbnail cover image of the video shows this bird with a stick in its mouth. It proceeded to add the stick to the bower.  (Later I saw this bird in the bower alone; it saw me when I reached for the camera and flew up into the six metre Port Wine Magnolia in front of the bower. Many birds nest in there.) Meanwhile, as soon as I tired of filming the birds partly out of sight and working quietly together, they flew up, to separate trees, which you will see in the last couple of minutes.

Olympus E-PL5 at 14mm (28 equivalent)

No comments:

Post a Comment