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Old Friday 21st April 2006, 11:25   #1
bryan0755
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Bird Behaviour

Spring is in the air and thoughts turn to love....

I was watching my bird feeders yesterday when my eye was drawn to three little brown birds on some recently cultivated, but yet to be planted ground, I can still feel the pain in my back from the digging, a quick grab of my trusty bino's and I was treated to some strange but oddly moving behaviour.
Those more in the know than I will no doubt have guessed that I was watching a 'manage de trois' of Dunnocks.
I'm assuming that I was watching two males and one female, as that is the way in the world.
The female was elevated on a piece of earth wings slightly extended and tail held high, a la wren, the tail quivering furiously and no doubt to the males evocatively. One of the males was hoping from side to side in anticipation at the rear of the female and this is the odd behaviour, gently pecking at her rear, the other male was standing close by in a voyeuristic fashion. This behaviour lasted for several minutes until the 'hopping' male, in a frantic leap, attempted to mount, but, unsuccessfully fell off, "are shame" I hear you cry.
The trio, disappointed, ammused, and perhaps embarrassed, dissappeared into a nearby holly bush.
This unusual behaviour left me wondering and has caused me to scour the 'WWW', where I find that the Dunnock, is famous for its breeding behaviour.

So I say bravo Mr Dunnock, you don't always need bright plumage to be a star!

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Old Friday 21st April 2006, 21:22   #2
Mynydd Merlin
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Hi Bryan,

Intriguing stuff indeed. I have also witnessed this behaviour in Dunnocks around our garden. You may already have found out but others may not know. The male pecking at the females rear was to stimulate her into releasing any sperm from a prior mating - thereby ensuring he is the one that actually fertilises her eggs. Fascinating birds!
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Old Friday 21st April 2006, 23:43   #3
bryan0755
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Originally Posted by Mynydd Merlin
Hi Bryan,

Intriguing stuff indeed. I have also witnessed this behaviour in Dunnocks around our garden. You may already have found out but others may not know. The male pecking at the females rear was to stimulate her into releasing any sperm from a prior mating - thereby ensuring he is the one that actually fertilises her eggs. Fascinating birds!
Are'nt birds brilliant!
How did that action come about? Truely thought provoking!
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