Have you ever stumbled across a small collection of blue rubbish in the bush and thought nothing of it?
Or looked closer and seen an avenue of interwoven twigs?
You have found the bower of a satin bowerbird.
The male uses his agile bill to weave twigs together and form two walls with a passage in between.
He then collects blue objects like straws, bottle tops and glass to decorate the surrounds.
This is what the female bower bird seems to like.
If one female bower bird approaches, the male begins an elaborate dance involving prancing, singing and offering gifts.
If she is interested, they mate inside the passageway.
Females later build nondescript nests in trees nowhere near the bower.
The male plays no part in rearing the young, instead keeps trying to attract more females.
If the male thinks his bower is not working, he destroys it and starts again shifting everything elsewhere.
Males are blackish with a glossy blue sheen and a gleaming lilac eye.
Females and young males are olive green also with a lilac eye.
Young males do not take on their adult plumage until the age of 7.
Before that time, they sneak in and start practicing their work in bowers when the adult male is absent.
In wilderness areas blue feathers, berries and flowers are used for decoration, but close to urban areas any bit of manageable blue plastic is hoarded.
That is not to say leave plastic out for their convenience! It can be hazardous and ideally natural blue would be better.
In the 1980s the main reason milk bottle seals were made to break on opening was to protect bowerbirds from getting the rings stuck around their heads.
Occasionally these birds build their bowers in shrubby yards in Hawks Nest.
Myall Koala and Environment Group