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.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The movies of day 4

The Pretender:

Today there was a very beautiful green-brown bird of alpha male proportions (who we shall call the Pretender) who acted for a while, in Odimbar's absence, as if the bower was his, with an audience if Teehoops (teenage hooligan peers), perhaps also females but no evidently charmed individual.

Which brings into my mind as mentioned earlier the question of the biological and the psychosocial triggers for conversion to satin black bird status. When Odimbar flew back, with a new blue bottle top, the Teehoops and the Pretender*** jump away but demonstrate that they would have the crown if they could. With about 30 seconds of reading instructions I've brightened the video and provided voice-over using iMovie.  Note added two days later: there is a bird in the bower while The Pretender does his dance. I refer to this as a juvenile in the voice-over. But I think that bird is not a juvenile but the Yuthiwim, going about her housekeeping. 

*** I am using the word Pretender in the everyday sense but also in the sense of he who claims a title not his (or her, but most of the human pretenders are male. Wikipedia offers a list of current pretenders in our own species.

Yuthiwin: "You'd think I was 'is Mother!"
All the world knows that male satin bowerbirds are super cleverpants at building super-colossal bowers. But what if someone else does the hard work?

and a little extra on roles

No comments:

Post a Comment