Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Another bird

As I was heading down to the laundry, rounding the corner of the house, I was startled by a raucous squawk at my feet. I had almost stepped on a small bird, squatting on the path. It was obviously not inclined to move, but didn't seem hurt. By the time I had gone for my camera and returned, it had moved out onto an area we had recently cleared for a garden bed, and I was able to take this photo before it flew rather unsteadily off into the ravine. During the time we were having our encounter, other similar birds, most likely its parents, were flitting through the surrounding trees, calling constantly.
It is a bower bird, either a female or a youngster of either sex. The bright blue eye is a characteristic feature. Mature males have plumage of a deep, iridescent purple.(And if I may have a feminist grumble: it took me a while to identify this bird because all the images in my bird books show the mature male only. And even if we ignore the sexist bias, it takes up to seven years for males to acquire their purple plumage so most of the birds one is likely to see in the wild are going to look like the one in my photo.)
These are common birds of the Blue Mountains, their name a recognition of the seraglio the males construct and adorn with sparkling objects, preferably blue, in order to attract the females.

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