Sunday, April 24, 2005

Dating and Mating

I've been out of the dating scene for almost 25 years now but I know a mating ritual when I see one.

Yesterday a couple of woodpeckers decided to check each other out in our backyard and they put on one of the oldest shows on earth. Andrew and Janet eventually came out and watched it with me.

The local species of woodpeckers are really beautiful birds.

The male and female circled each other on the green grass looking directly into each other's eyes. As they did their dance they hopped up and down and chirped out their characteristic "laughing" birdsong.

Every couple of minutes or so they simultaneously lept into the air. They looked like a couple of characters out of a magical-realist Kung Fu flick as they rose up three feet high, wings fully extended, then fell back to earth with one leg gracefully pointed down as the other curled up beneath their bodies.

I thought the male did a pretty good job of the whole thing, though I guess I was guilty of rooting for my psychological home team.

The female put him through his paces for about an hour and then decided he had the right stuff. They flew off together to make chicks that will grow up and probably drill holes in my house.


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