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Birdata is your gateway to BirdLife Australia data including the Atlas of Australian Birds and Nest record scheme. You can use Birdata to draw bird distribution maps and generate bird lists for any part of the country. You can also join in the Atlas and submit survey information to this important environmental database.

 

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Welcome to Birdata 29 March 2015

Golden Bowerbird: Jewel in the crown

P.R. Marsack

Due to the dense, sometimes impenetrable nature of tropical rainforests they seem draped in mystery, especially for the Europeans who settled at their margins in the 19th century. For many of them, the only way to remove this pall was to clear the forest.

To this day, rainforests hide many treasures that we are only now beginning to appreciate. One such treasure is the Golden Bowerbird. This lovely species is endemic to tropical rainforests of north-eastern Queensland, and was unknown to science (though familiar to the local Aborigines) until 1882, when a female specimen was collected, and its nest was not seen by European eyes for another quarter of a century.

The nest of the Golden Bowerbird usually comprises a deep bowl of sticks, leaves and vine tendrils. The first one was located in 1908, only after a concerted effort by a collector named George Sharp, who employed 'a large batch of aborigines' whose bush skills he could harness to collect nests and eggs -- it was one of these Aborigines who made the great discovery. The party was apparently rather successful in finding more nests, as they pinpointed 'quite a number' of them. Another nest was not found until 1961. Fortunately, these days, our knowledge of the breeding of the Golden Bowerbird has been expanded greatly by the ongoing ecological studies conducted by Cliff and Dawn Frith, who have located many Bowerbird nests in their travels.

If you want to discover more information about this species or any other birds that occur in Australia, just take a little time to explore the Birdata website, or visit the BirdLife Australia website at www.birdlife.org.au . You never know what you might find.


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