Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Love Life of Birds

You know everyone goes on about Spring and the birds and the bees? All that lovey-doveying and twittering?

Keeping a close eye on the goings on in local bird life, I can tell you that they don't start up in Spring.

No, No. The planners amongst them start sorting out the spouse and nesting thing in the Autumn. I have seen sparrows dragging each other out of the potential nest sight by the wing this time of year. Fierce squawkings, screamings and tail pulling amongst the pushy ones in the sparrow community. We even put up our sparrow box in the autumn - hoping someone would check it out. And they did. And they came back and nested in it. I think it would have been too late by the spring. But then I am a Know-It-All in case you hadn't noticed.

I am reminded of this autumnal courtship stuff when The Old Man (Yes - he who shall be reported) points out the activity of a couple of rooks he has spotted - on a telephone wire at the end of the garden. They sidle up to each other, perusing their mutual "fitness" so to speak. There is a moment of eye-gazing and beak closeness. Then one starts the exaggerated bowing and tail-spreading thing. You know the routine? (For more detail read my Post on Wood Pigeon Wooing with this here click.) Finally there is the mock "feeding" routine. You can imagine how it goes, can't you. After all animal nature .... is in us all.

"Would my little wookiewookie like a sunflower seed?" say he, bowing and scraping.

"What is this? A seed?" say she squinting at offering. "I expect at least a leatherjacket. A fat caterpillar or something else exquisite. But a seed. A seed from that feeder over there. All ten wing flaps away. You cheapskate. You are not fit to father my rooklets. Feh. I'm off. "

And she flaps away - leaving her would-be suitor looking a little glum, all alone on his telephone wire.

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