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Why Aussies are 'seething with jealousy' over litter found in front yard

Despite the litter being an eyesore to most, the display indicates something special has occurred in the area.

Aussies across the country have admitted they are indeed envious of a resident who came home to find litter strewn across their front yard, branding the man "lucky" despite the mess.

Blue bottle caps and ribbons were found scattered across the ground in Mallacoota, Victoria and although the sight is an eyesore to most, others in the know said they were "seething with jealousy" revealing it indicates the presence of a native bird, with the species famous for its interesting breeding ritual.

The blue-coloured litter consisting of bottle caps and ribbons are strewn across a grassy area.
The Mallacoota resident was called 'lucky' after finding litter strewn across his front yard. Source: Facebook

While building a mating area called a bower — where they get their name from — male satin bowerbirds scavenge for all things blue to decorate their courtship arena in a bid to attract a mate, ensuring they make a big display of their intentions.

"Like many bowerbird species, he decorates the bower with objects. In the wild he will use a range of colours from white to yellow to purple but satin bowerbirds definitely have a preference for blue," Sean Dooley, national birdwatching champion and Public Affairs Manager for BirdLife Australia, told Yahoo News Australia.

Why do satin bowerbirds like the colour blue

There are several possible reasons why the bird species favour the colour blue when trying to attract a mate, and the first is a rather vain one.

"It is a similar [colour] to the satin plumage of the mature male bird, sometimes the blue feathers themselves are used as decoration," Dooley explained.

There is also a "scarcity of blue objects in nature", therefore another proposed reason is the male bird picking these over objects of another colour to demonstrate they are able to find them, and also to defend the prized possessions from being stolen by other competing mates.

Satin bowerbirds now make good use of plastic found littered across their territory and collect anything they can find like blue pen lids, clothes pegs and bottle caps, with blue flowers and fruits eagerly sought after before plastic emerged.

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Birds can be 'strangled' in process of decorating bower

Despite the birds now using the plastic to their advantage, many are harmed during the process of collecting the pieces as they often become caught around their head.

Left, a bird's beak is jarred open with a bottle cap stuck. Right, a bird can be seen arranging objects.
Bottle caps are commonly stuck inside satin bowerbirds' beaks as they arrange the objects. Source: Facebook and Getty

"In the past bowerbirds have been strangled by the blue plastic rings from milk bottle lids," Dooley said, urging residents to be mindful of the impact these disposable plastics have on wildlife.

"Even if you do the right thing and dispose of your waste in the correct bin, if someone lives in an area where there are bowerbirds, it would be great if they could snip the ring to prevent it from becoming a noose for an enterprising bowerbird," he said.

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