Isn’t it nice waking up in the morning to hear the beautiful songs of the birds? Well spring time means for the birds, literally that it’s time for: the birds and the bees.
Birdsongs are mostly male birds calling out about how great they are. And their songs have different meanings, to the females it’s saying, ‘check out how fit I am’, and to the other male birds it’s, ‘yeah that’s right, this is my territory and you don’t want to mess with this’.
George Armistead, a world renowned bird expert says that there are many myths about birds and the most common question is: ‘Do birds mate for life?’ His answer was sadly no, but Armistead has said that most birds are monogamous. And that there are different types of monogamy, serial monogamists – they pair up for breeding season, but might take a different partner next season. Then there are the socially monogamous – they mate and nest together but it’s an open relationship. And some other birds don’t even bother to maintain a surface relationship. Take for example, the female Prairie Chicken, they gather and line up in a process called “Lekking”. The show starts at the crack of dawn, with the males performing a song and dance judged by the females. Each female picks a male, mates and moves on. The females don’t come to these sites for a longterm relationship, and these sites go back decades even centuries, so the females know exactly where to go.
When it comes to actually doing the deed, the Dunnock or hedge sparrow, only lasts a second, but they copulate a hundred times a day. And Hummingbirds, with a short lifespan, have been timed copulating in the wild for 56 minutes. That’s a fairly large proportion of their lifespan! But no matter how they go about it, the goal is to find a mate; so next time you hear a beautiful birdsong you’ll know it’s for the birds, and the bees.