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Season of Courting

Season of Courting

By Wild Birds Unlimited
Photograph courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited

Now is the time of year when male wild birds begin to draw the attention of females, and these courtship practices can be as entertaining as they are complex.

Birds are courting one another with singing, dancing, kissing, grooming, flashing their finery, chasing competitors and more. With some species, the male simply flies in front of the female to show off his luminous colors or unique markings. In others, songs are more important to impress the female with his musical repertoire. Woodpeckers are drumming to announce territories. Some birds touch bills or groom each other during courtship. Male jays and cardinals often present sunflower seeds to their potential mates while mourning doves and mockingbirds fluff up their feathers and “dance.”

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Originally scientists thought that many birds, such as geese, swans and eagles, mated for life, only seeking a new mate when the original partner died. Recent research shows that some species are faithful to their pair-bonding only for a season, while others actually have multiple mates simultaneously. For example, after hummingbirds mate, the male will court another female. Male house wrens build multiple nests and let the female choose the one she prefers. Then, the male may try to attract another female to occupy one of his other nests.

Be sure to enjoy these behaviors in your yard by keeping your bird feeders filled and providing a variety of fresh, quality foods. Just sit, relax and watch the natural world come alive.

If you have any questions on how to attract birds to your yard, contact your local Wild Birds Unlimited and speak to one of our Backyard Bird Feeding Specialists®.

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