Over the festive season, people across the country go to great lengths to transform their homes with extravagant displays of light and colour.
But even their mammoth efforts still pale in comparison to the decorative determination of the bowerbird, one of nature’s most proficient and artistic designers.
Male Bowerbirds build amazing structures from sticks as part of an elaborate display to attract females.
Using the most colourful objects they can find, they also decorate their bowers to make them more impressive and to help them catch the eye of a potential mate.
Satin Bowerbirds, like the one currently on display in Leeds City Museum’s Beavers to Weavers exhibition, prefer blue objects like petals and berries and also sometimes pick up litter like plastic bottle tops and straws.
Once they have mated, the female builds a nest on her own to lay her eggs in.
Also on display as part of Beavers to Weavers are tiny, exquisite pearl Buddha figures made inside oyster shells. The figures, inserted into the shells by oyster farmers, have been coated with pearl by the molluscs as a form of self-defence.
Rebecca Machin, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ curator of natural sciences said: “The animal kingdom is the setting for some truly extraordinary feats of invention and creativity, far surpassing the efforts of even the most brilliant of human engineers and architects.”
Beavers to Weavers: The Wonderful World of Animal Makers runs until Jan 6, 2019 so time is running out to see it.
The exhibition, which is free to enter, also includes a programme of family-friendly talks and activities.
For more details, please visit: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/leedscitymuseum/beavers-to-weavers