Saturday, March 1, 2008
Gary Panter- The Human Scale Bower Bird creation
Gary Panter suggested this one...
The most notable characteristic of bowerbirds is the extraordinarily complex behaviour of males, which is to build a bower to attract mates. Depending on the species, the bower ranges from a circle of cleared earth with a small pile of twigs in the center to a complex and highly decorated structure of sticks and leaves — usually shaped like a walkway, a small hut or a maypole — into and around which the male places a variety of objects he has collected. These objects — usually strikingly blue in hue — may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even discarded plastic items or pieces of glass. The bird spends hours carefully sorting and arranging his collection, with each object in a specific place; if an object is moved while the bowerbird is away he will put it back in its place. No two bowers are the same, and the collection of objects reflects the personal taste of each bird and its ability to procure unusual and rare items (going as far as stealing them from neighboring bowers). At mating time, the female will go from bower to bower, watching as the male owner conducts an often elaborate mating ritual and inspecting the quality of the bower. Many females end up selecting the same male, and many underperforming males are left without mates.