Welcome to the companion Web site to "Flying Casanovas,"
originally broadcast on Tuesday, December 25, 2001. The program, with Sir David Attenborough
narrating, celebrates the extraordinary antics male bowerbirds get up to when courting a female.
Here's what you'll find online:
On the Trail of the Bowerbird
Charles Darwin speculated on the function of bowers, but few scientists had conducted studies of these ornate constructions and their builders until the University of Maryland's Dr. Gerald Borgia began shadowing bowerbirds in 1980. Herewith, his tales from two decades in the field.
Are Bowers Art?
Bowers in many cases are so meticulously designed, masterfully built, and color coordinated that at least one leading naturalist of the 19th century thought they were built by a race of pygmies. Do they constitute works of art? Send us your thoughts. We'll post selected submissions.
In the animal kingdom, male bowerbirds are far from alone in going out of their way to attract females. Why do males expend such time and energy to find a mate? Because of a little force of nature known as sexual selection.
Bowerbird Matching Game (Hot Science)
Five different species of male bowerbirds have become separated from their nests. It's up to you to place each species in its proper bower, and to match him with his mate.