Sex And The Single Bird

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I lay no claim to being an ornithologist – but I’m telling you, spring is most definitely in the air in the bird kingdom.  You should see and hear what’s going on in the trees around our house.  It’s a veritable conclave for coming together (so to speak).

Apparently cardinals are monogamous, but the guys still go through a very touching courtship routine each season.  They ask their prospective baby-mamas out for a date.  I gather this tryst is always about food – no ice-skating or movies involved.  But if the meal is good and the guy is cute, he can seal the deal if he sings well.  Personally, I have heard some very impressive trilling lately.  And my hunch is that he’s got to bring something more than a McDonald’s Happy Meal if he’s hoping for a long-term relationship.  It’s good to be discerning I think – regardless of your species.  And I think it’s good for the kids to see their parents being nice to each other.

Now, the male robins show up a few weeks ahead of the girls, to scope out neighborhoods, do a little house-hunting, and sing threateningly to establish property rights (I guess this is analogous to going to a closing on one’s house).  Far be it for me to let them know that what they perceive as threatening sounds pretty damn glorious to me.  When the ladies arrive, things move into a mode similar to “The Dating Game” (yes, this dates me significantly).  The female has her choice, gets to ask a lot of questions (do you believe that parenting responsibilities should be shared; would you describe yourself as a romantic; if you were a human, what kind of human would you be, etc) and once she chooses her mate they head off for a brief honeymoon at some undisclosed location up the street.

We have a lot of different birds around here – I’m just mentioning these two types because they’re the least intimidating.  And because this topic could get a little tedious.  Let’s just say that turkey vultures courting other turkey vultures is nightmare-worthy and so frightening to Bogey that he barked at the sky for twenty minutes after witnessing their efforts at seduction.  There’s just nothing romantic to be said about turkey vultures.  Unless of course you’re a turkey vulture.

So as the buds begin to wink suggestively, promising more beauty yet to come, there’s even more salacious activity going on within their branches.  Listen up, it’s the music of love.