Why do Satin Bowerbirds decorate their bowers

When people move to a new house, they decorate that house with care and try to establish a pleasing environment that reflects their style. For this end, they make research, attentively look for decorative items and do their best to place them in the most appropriate way. Their endeavor finally ends in a cozy and pleasing environment to live in.

Interestingly the satin bowerbird also follows the same procedure and decorates a spectacular bower for itself.  This bird which is almost the size of a pigeon is a rare bird that lives in Australia that fascinates scientists with its remarkably complex behavior: the male satin bowerbird meticulously decorates its bower with colorful objects.

Every satin bower species chooses a specific color for itself but they generally prefer bright blue colored objects such as sticks, stones, flowers, seeds, bird feathers with bright blue color.

The perfect aesthetic perception in bowers

When a male satin bower reaches adolescence it first builds a bower for itself. Before the construction however, it engages in a lengthy research to find the best place for its bower. The most important factor is the proper angle by which the bower receives the sunlight. This little bird selects the place with the best sunlight in order to present its bower in the best form and starts to construct it. The shape of the nest that changes according to the species are generally triangle, oval or a dome. Once the construction finishes, the real task begins: decorating it in the most attractive and impressive way.

In an effort to establish the perfect appearance, the little bird collects all the objects it finds attractive. In these bowers one can find bird feathers, colorful flowers, pebbles, nuts, leaves in different forms, coins, metal pieces, aluminum foil pieces, glass, strings and even car keys.

Once the objects are collected, the bird spends hours to place them in the appropriate places. It always changes the places of the objects in an effort to have  the most striking and beautiful environment. When it adds new and better objects to its collection, it constantly makes fine-tuning to its structure and replaces the unfavorable ones with these new ones.

This effort of the satin bower bird is not limited to decoration. It even “paints” the walls of its structures with paint it itself produces by chewing berries or charcoal. Meanwhile a piece of chewed bark serves as plastering for the walls made up of tree branches.

The satin bower knows the locations of its decorative items by heart; in case any item is displaced, the bird immediately notices it and restores it to its place.

Another striking point is that the nests of these birds are dissimilar to one another. Each bird constructs its nest almost according to its own taste.

At this point a question occurs to mind: how did this bird learn to construct such a nest? How can it know to collect items, to gather them together and display them in a decorative fashion? No doubt a bird can not think about so many details by itself. It is Allah, the al-Haqim,  Who inspires it to construct its nest. All Mighty Allah relates this fact in a verse as follows:


“Do you not see that everyone in the heavens and earth glorifies Allah, as do the birds with their outspread wings? Each one knows its prayer and glorification. Allah knows what they do.” (Surat an-Nur, 41)

2010-12-21 01:35:33

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