Courtship

One of the many signs of spring — song and displays by male birds to attract their female partners.  There was plenty of that going on in Louisiana when we visited the Audubon (New Orleans) Zoo.

A little male to male beak-fencing action to prove who is top dog among the flamingos

A little male to male beak-fencing action to prove who is top dog among the flamingos.

Neck nibbles between member of this stork couple

Neck nibbles between member of this Maguari Stork couple.  These are South American storks that normally inhabit the temperate to tropical grasslands there.

I'll follow wherever you go...says the male Black-bellied Whistling Duck to his potential mate

I’ll follow your lead…says the male Black-bellied Whistling Duck to his potential mate. That includes staring down a turtle (left corner of photo) and standing on one foot.

But here in the Northland where there is still feet (not inches) of snow to melt before spring, the first sign of spring has to be the piercing trills of the Northern Cardinals, singing lustily away at the tops of trees.

The song might be loud, but the bright male never really lets a photographer get a good look at his beautiful color.

The song might be loud, but the brilliant male never really lets a photographer get a good look at his beautiful color.

A local cardinal couple visited my feeder this morning for a few minutes.  It may have been the same pair singing up a storm in the neighbor’s yard earlier.  Cardinals are one of the few small birds that mate for life, and although the pair bond gets somewhat loose in winter as they go their sometimes separate ways, the male is definitely following his female around in the backyard quite closely right now.

The male was intent on following his female everywhere she went from feeder to tree perch, etc.

The male was intent on following his female everywhere she went from feeder to tree perch, etc.

Cardinals engage in “mate feeding”, in which the male brings food to the female prior to the nesting period, I guess to prove that he will be a good provider when she is incubating and brooding the chicks.  But today, the female helped herself to seed from the feeder.

6 thoughts on “Courtship

  1. Our cardinals are in full courtship mode too – lots of chasing and singing going on. The NOLA zoo looks like a great place to visit – I’ll have to plan a trip there the next time I visit my daughter.

    • NOLA Zoo and Aquarium are definitely a good bargain. Get the package deal for hours of entertainment. And speaking of cardinals again, I find it strange that a bird with a permanent pair bond would start revving up the courtship activity so much in advance of the actual breeding season — i.e., when the snow melts and there is finally something to feed their chicks. Nevertheless, I do enjoy my morning wake-up call from the local males.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s