Bowerbird gets up close

Keith Ireland snapped this Great Bowerbird in North Queensland.

Birds in our World with Keith Ireland

The largest of the Bowerbird family of birds found in Australia is the Great Bowerbird which grows to approximately 30cm in length.

This is a bird of Northern Australia living in a range of habitats such as the rainforests, wet and dry areas of vegetation, mangroves, as well as not being afraid to check out people’s gardens both in city and country areas.

For this reason it is considered very common in most of these places.

When we were on a driving holiday in North Queensland, we stopped for morning tea at a roadside cafe. It had tables set up out the back and we took our burgers and drinks out there. It was a lovely, peaceful and relaxing place.

Fortunately I had taken my camera with me and had put it on the table beside my drink. I was facing away from it when Glenda started pointing at the table just past me. I turned slowly and there was the Great Bowerbird (pictured) inspecting my camera case and drink.

I didn’t want to frighten him away so I waited and watched till he hopped up onto a nearby branch.

As slowly as I could, I reached out and pulled the camera case back to me and took the camera out.

The bird seemed to be quite unperturbed by us being there so I was able to take a few photos of it, before it headed off to another table further away.

The male and female of this species look alike but it is the male who builds a large avenue of grass and small sticks as his bower. This is about 50cm long and 30cm high with the two sides roughly 20cm apart. He decorates it with a variety of different objects such as stones, shells and flowers.