Spring (and love) is in the air!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The days are getting longer (and warmer!) and a whiff of Spring is finally in the air.  Have you noticed a sudden rise in voices outside your window? The birds have begun their melodies of courtship! 

Birds methods of courtship are as varied as their colours and patterns; they sing, they dance, they display fabulous plummage and nests they've built, they even give gifts; and if we're lucky, inviting these wonderful creatures in our backyards will give us a glimpse at some of these rituals.

A Male Northern Cardinal feeds a meal to his mate.
The Northern Cardinal will woo it's mate with elaborate songs (close to 200 an hour in the morning hours of breeding season) and by bringing her food. This shows her he is a good provider for the family, as males are very involved in feeding both the female while incubating eggs, and the young once they have hatched.  While they're known for being monogamous, it's not unheard of for Cardinals to have more than one mate in a season.

You may notice Woodpeckers using nearby trees (or even your house) to "drum up" some attention from the ladies, the more noise they can make, the better; or perhaps your Mourning Doves fluffed up and doing a little preening-dance with their potential mate.

These courtship rituals may seem strange to us, but they help birds determine who is the best match to raise their young. Who is the strongest? Healthiest? The best provider? All very important things to ensure the success of their brood(s). While exciting for us to witness, always be careful to observe quietly from afar as to not disturb the birds from these important moments.

Have you been lucky enough to capture the courting rituals of your backyard birds? Tell us about your bird families, we'd love to hear your stories!

~ Jen

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