Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Bower of Love

This lovely, twiggy tunnel was created by a bird, if you can believe it. The Bowerbird, found most commonly in New Guinea and Australia, is nature's architect and interior designer, all rolled into one. The male is most famous for fashioning an intricate nest and carefully arranging the decor around the entrance of the nest to attract mates. They collect all manner of beautiful things from their environment -- shells, lovely stones, butterfly wings -- and  set them around their nests in a very precise way until they are satisfied they have achieved the maximum of attractiveness. The photo here is a kind of tunnel that certain kinds of Bowerbirds build; scientists have recently discovered that the tunnel seems to achieve a kind of optical illusion that makes the male appear larger than he is. Read the story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/neurophilosophy/2012/jan/19/1. An architect, interior decorator, and a magician!

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