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Feeling Blue?

17 July 2014

When Keeper Amie spotted this wild Bowerbird in Healesville Sanctuary’s grounds, she immediately knew something was wrong. She quickly caught it up and took it to the veterinary team at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre.

What vets found was alarming: the bird had a blue milk bottle ring tightly wedged around its neck, caught through its beak. Our wildlife vets carefully cut the ring off the bird and immediately released it back into the wild.

Male Bowerbirds are uniquely houseproud, collecting blue items to take back to their bowers to impress the female. The bower is a courtship arena decorated with bright blue coloured objects; in urban areas blue clothes pegs, drinking straws and bottle tops are among the favourite stolen items. Away from human habitation, the Bowerbird will often collect bright blue parrot feathers, flowers and brown snail shells. 

This Bowerbird was likely to be a juvenile male yet to attain his striking black plumage, but clearly already trying to impress the ladies!

This cautionary tale of this very lucky Bowerbird is a reminder for people to remember to always cut the rings off milk bottles, juice bottles, peanut butter and Vegemite jars before putting them in the rubbish so it no longer poses a threat to wildlife.