With a number of documentaries hitting theaters, NatGeo, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and so forth over the past few years, I imagine most of us have now encountered the renowned courtship behaviors of the male Bowerbird. As seen in the photo, they take on a fairly unique approach that may include rocks, plastics, shells, sticks and other brightly colored objects in an attempt to woo the fairer sex. But with a travel distance of over 8,000 miles and a hectic schedule, planning a trip down under to experience the antics of Bowerbirds first hand is a few years away. So I thought…
After a prolonged date with destiny that is now approaching 3 years, my wife and I stepped into a suburban open space to rendezvous with nature as we have done so many times before. It was during a nighttime walk four months back that we crossed paths with a Burrowing Owl who returned to a patch of land sandwiched between all the fixings of suburbia. From that first sighting, we made it routine to stop by for a short visit and even celebrated the appearance of his mate.
And that’s when the species line between Bowerbird and Burrowing Owl began to blur. Sure we have seen plenty of owls decorating burrows with dried frogs, trash, foil, bones, and even dog and coyote dung, but this particular male took design to a meticulous level as he created an ornate burrow entrance complete with hardwood floors made of bark.
North America’s Western Burrowing Owl may not be quite at the same level as the Bowerbird in terms of design aptitude, but they should definitely take notice that there’s an up and coming contractor taking the stage in the world of birds. Here are a few other burrow pictures for the design portfolio. Enjoy!