Friday, 9 January 2015

A Rubbish Start to the Year - and the Strange Bowerbird that Likes it

My blog readers can't help but notice that rubbish in the environment is a source of great concern. I've blogged about beach clean-ups, both private and organised, about road-side rubbish, and about rubbish such as plastic bags endangering wildlife. A friend responded by sending me these images from Jakarta.

 There is so much rubbish here, the standard kiwi beach clean-up doesn't apply.

This is the world's problem, not just mine or yours. But we can do something. Here's some ideas from the US environmental group NRDC on Solutions to Plastic Pollution in our Oceans.

And in a strange twist here's a true story about a bird that likes rubbish...
A few weeks ago, I was walking in Australia's beautiful blue mountains. Beautiful scenery, not a piece of rubbish to be seen despite large numbers of tourists.

When I saw an explosion of rubbish on the forest floor.

I was almost ready to leap in and pick it all up, when my Australian companion pointed out this was the Bower of a Satin Bowerbird. 
Satin bowerbird above his bower

The male Bowerbird collects blue objects, the same colour as his eyes, and creates a bower of grasses too. Plastic rubbish - bottle tops, drinking straws and other bits of blue plastic make for a bright bower. Birds that don't have access to rubbish use blue feathers, stones, shells, berries etc.

The bower is the thicket of sticks at the top of this photo.

Their penchant for blue plastic puts them at risk from getting rings from blue plastic bottle lids stuck around their necks, and has led to calls for such rings to be banned.

Some people have taken to You Tube with their observations of Bowerbirds in action. Here's a link to one - Courtship Display of the Satin Bowerbird.

Stumbling across the Satin Bowerbird was one of the highlights of our trip. For once it was good to see rubbish being put to good use.

Thanks to Libby for the photos from Jakarta and Sarah for the showing me the Satin Bowerbird.