The Sorrows of Young Werewolf (eyeteeth) wrote,
The Sorrows of Young Werewolf

Stop being winter, stop it now, stop it

The mating display of the male rock dove, whose name the International Ornithological Congress officially changed to rock pigeon in 2004, but then changed back to rock dove in 2011, before I even noticed -- the mating display of the male Columba livia or plain old pigeon is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I think I did a good job of drawing it here but I couldn't capture the constant bobbing and spinning or the throaty vocalizations it involves, or the rasp of the tail feathers as they drag on the sidewalk, because the pigeon cock really throws himself into this endeavor, and no wonder: Columba livia tends to mate for life, so it behooves him to put on the best show he can in order to get the best hen. What constitutes "best" in this situation I can't say, but it certainly looks as if the dancing bachelor targets one hen at a time, bobbing and whirling and high-stepping as close to her as he can get as she alternates between ignoring him and fleeing from him. So presumably there are hen-selection criteria that the cock applies before he moves in to start his dance, just as presumably the hens have a way of deciding whose advances to eventually accept. And when mating does take place, the hen, like all female members of the order Columbiformes ("dove-shaped"), tends to lay two white eggs. When I first learned this I was struck by the phrase two white eggs, which still seems to me like the most soothing phrase English can be used to produce. Try saying it the next time you feel stressed out. Two white eggs. Two white eggs.
Tags: animals, new york, pigeons, spring, stix
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