Readers’ wildlife photos

Once again I urge readers to send me their good photographs, as I have on hand only a one-week supply. Thanks.

Today we have some gorgeous bowerbirds (and their strange courtship devices) from reader Duncan McCaskill in Canberra. There’s also a bonus cockatoo.

Last year I was lucky enough to find a male Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) displaying at his bower. It was under some dense vegetation in a weedy patch of bushland between a golf course and suburban housing, not too far from our national parliament. In the last decade or two, Satin Bowerbirds have become moderately common garden birds here in Canberra, but they have yet to visit my own garden and I don’t see them that often. They can be shy and keep to dense cover, and I rarely get the chance to get a good look at one or photograph one.
The bower was made of long, thin twigs, and decorated with bits of blue plastic (mostly pieces of packaging strapping tape).

Satin Bowerbird bower

The male was dancing around his bower, making his mechanical whirring and clicking calls. In his bill he held a piece of blue plastic and some yellow crest feathers from Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.
A female observed the performance from the other side of the bower. She left after a short while. I don’t know if she was unimpressed by the male or disturbed by my presence.
Young males are green like the females – its almost impossible to tell them apart. They don’t acquire their satin plumage until they are about 7 years old, so most birds you see are green ones. Here is another photo of a mature male.
And here is a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) showing off its yellow crest. They are about the most common bird in Canberra.

A note from Wikipedia about this species:

One cockatoo called Fred was still alive at 100 years of age in 2014. Cocky Bennett of Tom Ugly’s Point in Sydney was a celebrated sulphur-crested cockatoo who reached an age of 100 years or more. He had lost his feathers and was naked for much of his life, and died in the early years of the twentieth century. His body was stuffed and preserved after death. Another ‘cocky’, born in 1921 and residing in Arncliffe with his owner Charlie Knighton, was 76 years old in the late 1990s.


  1. Liz
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Beautiful colors.

  2. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I love the colors of both. Perhaps the female didn’t consider the nest impressive enough, or the male was still decorating the nest. Looking at Google images of bowerbird nests, they seem to be festooned with eye-catching objects. I hope the male found the cockatoo feathers on the ground and didn’t pluck them from some cockatoo’s head.

  3. Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    That is cool! It must be thrilling to see one of the legendary examples of sexual selection.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Those bower bird eyes are fabulous. You’re lucky to live in a place that has so many cool birds. I’d love to see cockatoos hanging about.

  6. grasshopper
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    The Queen Of England sends a congratulary letter to citizens of the the realm who during their life have made one hundred orbits of the sun. A few years ago, she humorously sent such a letter to a centenarian sulphur crested cockatoo.
    One rarely sees humour emanating from Buckingham Palace. Maybe it is all beer and skittles in there.

  7. grasshopper
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Congratulatory!!! Maybe I should use a spoll checkor.

  8. Posted April 3, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Those eyes are beautiful.

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