Bowerbirds Plant Flowers While Impressing Their Mates

shoe_scraper_of_death/CC BY 2.0

Sure, human history is rich with bold romancers, from poets and painters to skywriters and mixed-tape makers -- but there's another creature that probably has us beat when it comes to winning over that special someone. Not only do they give their mates flowers, they grow them as well.

Male Bowerbirds, a modest-seeming species native to Oceania, have long been considered one of Nature's most memorable masters of courtship for the complex, ornamental shrines they build to impress their mates. But new research has revealed that the bird isn't just a skilled romancer, he's a master florist too, albeit an accidental one.

According to a team of British researchers studying bowerbirds in Australia, the species' elaborate courtship ritual inadvertently led to the proliferation of flowers near their little constructions, called bowers. As it turns out, flowers are one of the bird's favorite items to use as decoration -- and in doing so, they enter into a floral domain thought reserved for just one other species: us.

From the Australian Geographic:

It is the first evidence of a non-human species growing plants for a use other than food, the scientists say.

Lead researcher Dr Joah Madden says: "We grow plants for all kinds of things, from drugs to clothing to props, that we use in our sexual displays such as roses. But it seems we are not unique in this respect."

Obviously, such unprecedented findings are of note to biologists in that they help to shed light on the role birds play in spreading plant-life, but it's hard not to interpret the Bowerbird's newly discovered courtship gesture as a shot across the bow to aspiring romantics of the human variety.

Perhaps it's time we step it up a notch: don't just give her flowers, plant her a garden.

Tags: Birds

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