Bowerbirds at Paluma

We stopped at Birthday Creek on the way back from Paluma Dam (last-but-one post) to see if we could see two bowerbirds known to live there, and perhaps a platypus as well. We scored, I reckon, 1.5 out of 3 – no platypus, one abandoned bower, and one bowerbird in full song.

Birthday Creek
Birthday Creek from the bridge on the Paluma Dam road

We watched for platypus from the bridge but saw none although this stretch of Birthday Creek looked like platypus heaven.

Golden Bowerbird bower
Abandoned bower of Golden Bowerbird

We were not much luckier with the Golden Bowerbird, the one which some of us had hoped to visit a few months ago. We found the bower easily enough by walking fifty metres down a track from the Birthday Creek carpark, but it was collapsed, obviously abandoned.

Each species of bowerbird has its own style of bower. The Golden male makes towers of twigs around two adjacent tree trunks and links them with a branch from which he calls, and my photo show the larger of the two towers. This video from Marc Anderson shows what we missed.

Bowerbird on perch
Tooth-billed Bowerbird


Just a metre or two from the edge of the carpark we saw and heard the male of another bowerbird species, the Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Scenopoeetes dentirostris (aka Tooth-billed Catbird, Ailuroedus dentirostris).

His bower hardly deserved the name, being merely an ornamental carpet of fresh-cut leaves on a cleared patch of ground, but he was singing his heart out from his perch on a branch above it. (As Slaters’ Guide puts it, “Voice: most variable, vigorous and loud song at bower, making bowers easy to find.”) He was so oblivious of us that I got close enough to make a video, mainly for his song. Clicking on the photo above will take you to a brief excerpt from it.

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