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Outdoors: Birds' courtship performances


It seems early, but on one of our rare sunny days, I heard a chickadee sing his two-note mating call.

The courtship season for birds will soon be here.

Because Valentines’ Day coming soon, I would point out that bird courtship is an artistic endeavor.

To attract a mate, a male bird must sing, dance, behave dramatically or create a visual presentation.

In the dance department, some species dance, and others perform acrobatic courtship flights.

Ritual dancing is, for many birds, a critical part of pair bonding.

Cranes dance by leaping, while most paired water birds perform intricate ballets.


Many birds are musicians using song to attract and keep a mate.

They learn their songs by listening to their parents, and a female will be receptive only to a perfect rendition of the courtship song of her species.

We can’t forget the birds that use costumes and props to impress a prospective mate.

Many birds show off their fine feathers, and a significant number of birds come bearing gifts.

Finally, the visual arts.

Some male birds decorate their nests and fill their bowers with flowers.

Most females throw these out these offerings, but it’s that thought that counts.

Ah, romance. In the case of birds, the arts of courtship are instinctive, but still, they are fine arts.