Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Design

I’ve often seen photo challenges posted and for various reasons have never become involved, until last week. I finally took the plunge with my first post in an on-going series of Friendly Friday photo prompts. Looking though my existing photos for something that resonated with me for the theme turned out to be a great trip down memory lane.

I enjoyed  re-living experiences from recent years as I searched for photos relevant to the prompt. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I think it’s quite likely that I’m going to be a frequent participant in these Friday Friendly photo challenges.

This weeks photo prompt from Snow at


DESIGN:I found the inspiration for my entry in nature.

The great Bower bird – a master of design

We were camped in Katherine in the Northern Territory in 2016 where a Great Bower Bird had set up his bower towards the rear of our caravan.

The male of the species builds his mating platform, a twin-walled avenue type bower approximately 1 metre long and 45 centres high. The entrances, both front and rear, of the bower are decorated meticulously with white, green, grey and silver objects. Only a male with a successful bower will attract mates, so he’s vigilant about his house keeping and his decor.

Male Bower Bird outside his mating bower
With his lilac crest he’s not as plain as he looks

He forages for items daily to add to the entrances of his bower, and spends hour upon hour adding to, and re-arranging everything into some new design. It’s not unusual to spot a particular item has been moved to a different position several times in a single day. Sometimes he’ll group an item with similar objects, and sometimes he’ll select one item from a group and display it singularly in a position of prominence all on its own.

Small bright green wild lemons, a shell, and a metal ring from a can.
Bright green broken glass, everything strategically place, and re-arranged constantly throughout the day
A broken grey peg placed as a feature displayed on top of the grey stones
Crumpled al-foil and green painted screws pillaged from goodness knows where
Note the 20 cent coin to the left. Loads of textures, and a great variety of shades in his colour scheme

He must get bored with his design quickly as he’s forever re-arranging everything. One thing that remains a constant though is his colour scheme. We were intrigued and tried putting a pink item into his arrangement when he was out. On his return he quickly removed the offending colour. We also placed little items, buttons, clothes pegs, stones etc nearby in what we thought were his chosen colours. He picked up some to add to his decor, but other items obviously didn’t figure in his grand design and were completely ignored.

It was while we were in his presence that we put our trust in the universe and bought our existing house in Busselton, nearly 4000 kms away. We put our unconditional offer on the house, sight unseen, which seemed like a moment of madness at the time.

The tiny house had been vacant for over a year, and there had been little in the way of maintenance and decorating done since it had been built 16 years previously. Decorating and furnishing such a small house has been a challenge. Through persistence, a lot of drafting and design, and a lot of trial and error, our little house is turning into a quaint little beach cottage that we’re happy with. I think if we were Bower birds, our little Bower would be intriguing enough now to attract a mate.

I wonder if that little Bower bird, with his diligent attention to decorating, wasn’t somehow inspirational in our own return to being home owners, and the abrupt ending of our Nomadic life travelling around the country like gypsies. Perhaps that little bird has something to answer for…..

Postscript: if that little Bower bird did influence our decision to settle down in one place again – he did good! Living in our little beach cottage on the doorstep of the Margaret River Wine region, with the best neighbours anyone could hope for – what a pleasure life is turning out to be.

28 thoughts on “Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Design

  1. How fascinating! I’ve seen this little fella a few times on nature documentaries, but it must have been fabulous watching him build his bower. Funny how he tossed away the pink item! Very brave and exciting to buy your house unseen, but it sounds like it was the right thing to do 😊 loved reading this


    1. There’s three different types of Bower Birds, and they’re all different colours, and they decorate their bowers in colours according to their type. I’m not one for bucket lists really, but I’d have to say if I was, seeing the other two would be high up on my list. Nature can be so entertaining, can’t it. He was absolutely fascinating to watch – I could have watched him for hours, in fact I did watch him for hours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh heck I’d have camped out with you there Chris. I’ve been watching a couple of swans for weeks while mummy swans been sitting on a nest. I’ve been fascinated. The eggs started to hatch on Sunday while I was watching 😀 I went back yesterday to 3 gorgeous fluffy signets. I know she has 3 left to hatch too. I love nature ❤️


    1. I’ll post some before and after photos soon of the beach house. It’s taken us almost three years to get it right for us. It’s a little house, but we’ve managed to make to make some good usable space.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! This is pretty incredible. How he builds and chooses and rearranges and how he helped you decide on your future, and how it’s been excellent. Signs are everywhere. The photos of his creation are extraordinary. It seems like another world. It’s like when my dog leaves one or two pieces of dog food next to the bowl every time he eats and I wonder whether it’s a tip, or a sign, or a gift, or a thank you or what.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very intriguing post – very much to my taste and joy. It is about Nature! Thank you for introducing me to the Bower bird! And, I am also impressed with your house buying – surely the bird had something to do with it – it was meant to be.


    1. The males work all day on their decorating. We never saw any mates come by, but he was doing everything he could to pretty things up enough to attract a few. It was interesting to re-arrange things all the time. He had a group of bright green broken glass all together, then later in the day he moved a few stones and re-positioned one of the pieces strategically on the stones. He had a good eye for how to highlight things he wanted to stand out. Fascinating to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You were very brave buying a house site unseen. I am impressed. Also impressed with your post on the bowerbird, and that you had the privilege of being up close and personal with it. It is such an interesting species.
    I am really glad you joined in with Friendly Friday again. See you next week.


    1. We spent a few days watching the bird, it was absolutely fascinating. As for buying the house unseen, sometimes one just has to trust that the universe will see us right. We’ve never regretted it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are reminding me of Marlene from Insearchofitall, when she speaks of trusting in the universe. I am learning to trust the universe but buying a house without looking – no, I could never do that. I do admire you for being courageous, and it sounds like it has been a great move for you both.


      2. We did a bit of research first, and we had someone look through it for us. We were told. – it’s small, very small, but the ceilings are high. There’s three bedrooms, 1 is a small queen size, and the other two are small but will fit double beds. There’s a second bathroom – it’s a funny little bathroom but it is a bathroom. Yes, there’s parking for your 25ft fifth wheeler, And it’s got potential….. We put in a low offer, which they upped by $5000, so we were in. We felt if it wasn’t ok, we’d sell it again and with a bit of work most likely wouldn’t lose. As it turned out, it’s been a challenge to furnish it, because everything we were told about size is correct, but we do like it. The house is almost complete now, and on more summer and the garden will be on the way to maturing.


      3. If it hadn’t been for the rig, we probably would have bought a town house or unit in a small complex, one without strata fees. Instead we ended up with a house the size of an apartment, but with more garden, and I love my garden. We took a huge leap, and landed on our feet. Moving to a new area was scary as we didn’t know anyone down here, but the house seemed to come with a group of friends as well. It’s a great community. Life is better than its ever been for us.


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