Posted in Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Aussie Birds and Animals, Back Yard Bird Life, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Superb Blue Fairy-Wren, Superb Blue Wren, Wild Play

Singing Over Our Creative Eggs

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week one and the creative force has produced the Superb Blue Wren to provide some lessons!

Mothers usually set about teaching their offspring the moment they’re born. But the females of this  Australian bird can’t wait that long. Researchers discovered, by accident, while recording at fairy-wren domed nests, that female fairy-wren were singing to their eggs.

The females of superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) start singing to their unhatched eggs in order to teach the embryo a “password,” a single unique note, which nestlings must later incorporate into their begging calls in order to get fed. This trick allows fairy-wren parents to distinguish between their own offspring and those of cuckoo species that invade their nests. The females also teach the pass-note to their mates. This has the potential of opening up new lines of inquiry into prenatal learning systems.

In her book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about singing over the bones to feed the creative spirit. As an artistic midwife I am familiar with the creative birthing process, but until the blue wren flitted into my world I had not thought of encouraging creatives to “sing over their eggs’

Posted in Art and Healing, Artistic Midwife, Contemplative Practice, Heather Blakey, Superb Blue Fairy-Wren, Wild Play

What is your Creative Niche?

Over 52 weeks I will be learning all about how to live and work creatively. My teachers are Aussie birds and animals. It is week one and the creative force has produced the Superb Blue Wren to provide some lessons!

Superb-fairy-wren

Andrew Katsis, who spent two years of a Masters studying the fairy-wren, reveals that there is much more to this striking bird than meets the eye. He explains that they live in cooperative family groups (in which sons – but not daughters – hang around to help raise their younger siblings), learn vocalisations from their mother while still inside the egg, and boast perhaps the highest rate of adultery in the bird kingdom.

One intriguing finding of a Geelong study was that being more exploratory affected a bird’s survival chances. Fast- explorers were less likely to be present in the population a year later, most likely because they had died. The researchers speculated that fast- explorers are perhaps less wary of potential threats and more likely to stray into the sights of predators.

One cannot help but ask why this variation exist at all?  You might think that natural selection would quickly weed out all the fast- explorers? This is a question the research group are working on. One possible explanation is that birds with different personalities facilitate each other by performing different social roles (known as social niche specialisation). Fast- explorers may be filling a separate social niche that achieves equal reproductive fitness despite their shorter lifespan.

Today the fairy-wren encourages us to consider how we work, to consider our creative niche specialisation! Fairy-wren asks us to consider how we pace ourselves? Fast- exploring animals tend to form routines more quickly, and therefore thrive in consistent environments. Slow- exploring animals are better able to respond to changes in their environment, which may be beneficial in a fluctuating habitat.

Take the time to consider your social niche specialisation and the routine that works best for you!