Ecology and Life
The puppy room easing life's pain in a stroke
Gentle wobblings of a 'foul gull' fulmar
Frigatebird returns to nest on Ascension for first time since Darwin
New to Nature No 94: Canthigaster criobe
Uggie: 'He likes to fly first class'
It's a dog's life in China: sold for £1m or stolen and sold as meat
Malibu residents hire crew to remove rotting whale carcass from beach
Yellowstone's popular alpha female wolf shot dead by hunters outside park
What I miss most in the dead time of winter is the insects
BSE testing on cattle slaughtered for food 'no longer necessary'
Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China
The vibrant river was a welcome relief after the bleak, snow-covered fields
TV Review: Miniature Britain; Weight Loss Ward; Rome
Marine conservation group says UK lacks ambition to preserve seas
UK seas to gain 31 marine conservation zones
Live animal exports going via previously unknown routes
When a dozing otter steals the show
Newly discovered slow loris species already threatened
What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings
Could this really be the fearsome, legendary Girt Dog reincarnate?
Overfishing is a solvable environmental challenge for the EU
Life comes cheap for winter wrens
Ash trees consumed by something of the night
Foie gras taken off menu in House of Lords
  What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings
The male bowerbird has one dazzling bachelor pad. His nest, woven around a tree and carpeted with moss, takes years to build. Each bowerbird has his own exquisite taste in decorations; some prefer neat arrangements of blue and purple flowers while others enjoy the classic minimalism of dark seeds and glass. Common embellishments include leaves, coins, nails, shells and even live insects. This elaborate ritual is sacrosanct, because the bowerbird knows that if his bower isn't beautiful, he will not seduce his mate.

But not everyone is as insightful when maintaining his or her nest. For many singles, home is less a place to build a life and more a place to store life's leftovers. Nobody blames you for being busy, of course, but most dates won't take that as an excuse for a filthy or out-of-date apartment. You may be manicured, neatly dressed, and intellectually together a complete package, really but on the fateful day you invite them over you could be in trouble.

Usually this happens in one of two ways. You put off having them over for weeks or even months, probably due to embarrassment. In this case they are likely prepared for the worst. But more often, and far more disarming to your mate, is when you believe your dreadful living situation is absolutely normal. An unhip flat with piles of clothes, crusty dishes and a nose-wrinkling aroma may cut your future as a couple short.

Like humans, bowerbird females flee at the sight of a home that's not to their liking. But if she is impressed, she will inspect the bower and, once satisfied, indicate to the male with a soft cooing that she is ready to mate. Intercourse takes but seconds, yet the male bowerbird does not seem to mind. The female will fly off to build her own nest and raise yet another generation of future architects.

Some creatures live in tunnels in the dark, damp earth, while others prefer the sunny view of a city skyline. At this very moment there are tiny hunters crafting shelters from delicate strands of silk right alongside human males sweating over which curtains match their new duvet covers. A home can be a place to rest, store food, spring a trap, woo a lover. Taking care of your home means that you care about yourself and, well, the bowerbird isn't the only animal that takes notice.
New to Nature No 96: Oncopodura fadriquei
Animal rights activists plan direct action against beagle imports
How the stink of a waterbuck could prevent sleeping sickness in Kenya
Tatler's dog, Alan, dies in bizarre revolving door accident
Insecticide 'unacceptable' danger to bees, report finds
Freedom Foods 'failing to crack down' on poor salmon farming standards
One in 10 Welsh livestock farmers illegally kill badgers, study suggests
Crab study puts pain on the menu
A large shape a bittern flies across the pond
Wolf killings are based on the most cynical of premises
New to nature No 97: Ferrisia uzinuri
Sad to see the tide turn against the otter
An owl swoops down on wings that seem as broad as they are long
Animals: are they good for supper or good companions?
Is human branding an animal-rights stunt too far?
Cat lovers pounce on campaign to save New Zealand's birds
Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'
There is something irresistibly cheerful about a flock of twite
Solomon Islands villagers kill 900 dolphins in conservation dispute
Mistle thrush numbers in decline
Guyana pledges to protect jaguars
Dung beetles navigate by the stars
How do you catch an escaped crocodile?
New to Nature No 98: Xerophytacolus claviverpus
Animal astronauts: the unsung heroes of space exploration
Pygmy elephants found dead in Borneo after 'poisoning'
A badger's biscuit-sized footprints in the snow follow the field edge
British moths in calamitous decline, major new study reveals
The lake is muted under the winter sun, like a faint watercolour painting
Should the RSPCA have pursued the man who ate a live goldfish?
Days of heavy rain have left the ancient woodland sodden
Alice Roberts: Rudolph and our early ancestors a love story
Saving the rhino with surveillance drones
Hunting with dogs ban unlikely to get free vote admit top Tories
The tracks in the snow revealed the secrets of these night visitors
A perfect winter's day for a walk
Meet the woman battling Japan's whaling fleet in Antarctic ocean
China captivated by tiny tuneful insects that sing for their supper
HBO sued by animal rights worker over abuse of horses on Luck
Some surprising facts about hedgehogs
Cats killed in cattery fire
Experience: my horse sank in quicksand
Alys Fowler: fat balls and mealworms
Hawks in danger of extinction in illegal hunting campaign
What the Japanese red bug teaches us about parenting
Fishermen back sanctions against Iceland over mackerel catch
What I learned the day a dying whale spared my life
Overfishing causes Pacific bluefin tuna numbers to drop 96%
Glistening with water droplets, the black-throated diver looked almost eerie
Kitten swallows 15cm-long TV aerial
As the rain blows over, a double rainbow arcs across the sky
A moorhen sent stone-skimmer splashes as it pattered across the river
Visit Statistics