April 4, 2009

It's Business Time

Humans are complicated. At least the sexual part of us is. We have morals and phobias and self-esteem issues. Missed cues and misinterpreted words. Needy kids and late-night television. It's kind of amazing we actually manage to do it once in a while.

That's why I like seeing birds in spring. There's no guessing in the avian world. Take a look around, and you realize that all of them have sex on the brain. Tim and I drove by a pond of American avocets the other day, and I turned to him and said: "Somebody's lookin' to get some." Once I clarified that I was referring to the birds, I explained that avocets are black and white most of the year but get a bright red streak down their necks during mating season. They look like hot and bothered teenagers after a makeout session.

As part of my springtime voyeurism, I went on a short field trip this weekend with Bill Fenimore of the Wild Bird Center in hopes of seeing the lovely sandhill crane do its famous mating dance. It didn't feel like spring, considering we were all shivering under three layers of clothing, but the birds at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve didn't seem to know the difference. Yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds were calling, American avocets were blushing, a meadowlark was singing, northern flickers were flashing, and the sandhill cranes were croaking.

Yes, I said croaking. But it's a very sexy croak. I'll let Bill Fenimore tell you a bit more about the trip:

While we didn't see the sandhill crane's actual mating dance, as Bill mentioned, we got some very good looks at the cranes--in the sky and on land. They really are cool, kooky birds, which is why an honest-to-goodness Your Bird of the Week featuring the sandhill is on its way.

Until then, thanks to Bill, Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife (your gloves saved me!), and my fellow birders who braved the elements.

1 comment:

Melodie Larsen said...

This trip was a lot of fun. You got a great video from your little camera. I'm happy to have met you and become acquainted with your blog.

Melodie Larsen

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