Western Bowerbird

This blog is called The Golden Bower because I would like to think that it will function as a kind of virtual bower for the display of inspiring images collected during my time spent on farms and other places in the Australian countryside- as part of the TWIG project.

The natural world is full of great mystery and beauty, birth, death and disintegration. Farmers are witness to these constantly changing patterns and have a very close relationship with the plants, animals, birds and water ways that thrive and perish according to the season and the way they choose to manage the available resources.

By spending an extended period of time on unfamiliar country you quickly begin to accumulate new experiences, from foreign bird calls to unusual plants, to strange smells and mysterious encounters with local fauna. You quickly learn to adjust to the new patterns that make up that place, and before long you fall in love with the fact that each day you will make more discoveries about the land that you are temporarily calling home.

This blog is a work in progress and at the moment I can’t really say much more about all this. I hope you enjoy looking at the images and reading the various annotations.

I look forward to reading any thoughts or feedback you might like to offer, as I’m always fascinated to hear what others make of all this.

All the best,

Trevor Flinn

To follow are a few dictionary definitions, fascinating facts and wikipedia references that further explore some thoughts behind this blog title.

bow’er n.  dwelling, lady’s room; arbour or summer-house or leafy nook;-bird, an Aust. bird remarkable for its habit of building a bower and adorning it with feathers, shells, fruits, and other colourful objects etc. in courtship; (of person, sl.) collector of trivia. [E, = dwelling]*

The Golden Bowerbird:Prionodura newtoniana is a species of bowerbird found in the rainforests above 700m of Atherton, Queensland in Australia. The Golden Bowerbird has a brown head and wings which are bright yellow-gold underneath, as are the tail, crest and nape.

The Golden Bowerbird primarily feed on fruits, although they also eat flowers and certain insects, primarily beetles.

During the mating season, the polygamous male tries to fertilise as many females as possible. The female assess the male’s vocal, plumage, display and bower structure before selecting and mating. The mating season lasts from late September to early February. The female raises one or two young in a small cup nest in a tree crevice approximately two metres above ground.

·      It is the world’s smallest bowerbird, but it is able to build the largest of all bowers.
The bower represents external symbols of an individual male’s fitness.

·      The male Golden Bowerbird builds a maypole type of bower of one or two towers
of sticks up to 3m tall with a display perch. Skilfully laid sticks connect the towers
and decorations are placed on them. These are often white, off-white and pale
green orchids, jasmine, other flowers, seedpods and lichens. The sticks become
glued together by the action of fungi after some time. To maximise the time a male
can spend at a bower, he hides fruits in different places throughout the bower.

·      The bower is very important to the bird, and rival males may steal higher valued
decorations from each others’ bowers. This is because the females are
discriminative – they will only select the male who uses ornaments that are the
rarest or hardest to obtain.

·      The average life of a bower structure is 9 ½ years, and the same sites are often
used from generation to generation, perhaps for 60 years.

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). It was first published in two volumes in 1890; and the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch‘s The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855). It offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately[1] as a culturalphenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The impact of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature was substantial.

Well worth a read!

Cheers, Trevor


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