Happy Valentine’s Day! Birds of all kinds will do their best to attract a mate for the breeding season in the spring. Their efforts show off their strength and health – proving to the females that they’ll pass on strong genes to the offspring. Here are a few ways males will impress females in the hope they’ll pair up:
Showing Off – This includes displaying their colorful feathers and dancing around. Peregrine falcons will do amazing tricks in the sky, while other birds will shake their feathers around.1 Short-eared Owls will clap their wings quickly while in flight to impress potential partners.2 (Check out a cool video of this from Hawkwatch International).
Vocalizing – Singing is a common way for birds to try and attract potential mates. Their songs can show off their health and maturity, as well as ward off birds that may encroach on their territory. Sometimes males will sing just to the females, while other times females may sing back to them.3 Nocturnal owls will often use singing to attract a mate.2
Feeding – Who doesn’t love being brought food? A male bringing the female food is another common part of finding a mate. This proves that the male can find food and share it, which is essential when the female needs to incubate the eggs and can’t hunt for herself.3
Building Nests – Some male birds will build nests to impress the female. Wrens will build several nests to increase their chances of the female liking one of them and deciding to stay. Some species will even decorate the nests with rocks or flowers.1 This is also a way for the male to claim territory before he courts a female bird.3
There are more, but these are some of the common ways birds will try to impress others and pair up. Owls will often be monogamous for the breeding season. Sometimes the pairing only lasts that one season, while other times the pair will stay together throughout the year.2
Once a pair is bonded, the next step is to produce offspring. Check out our blog about egg-laying and its advantages, here!