Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rites of Spring: gay turtle doves. Seriously.

It was one of those times when you wished you had a camera and enough space on the Flash card to shoot video, because it's entirely possible no one will believe you. But I swear to any deity you care to mention -- how about Marduk, the Babylonian god of war? -- that this is absolutely true.

Turtle doves, right? These birds, which flock in anybody's backyard in this part of the world and eat -- well, anything:

Turtle doves. Not to be confused with these critters, which are your actual, genuine Murray River turtle, and don't flock in backyards anywhere at all:

Okay, turtle DOVES. Birds, very common everywhere, so everyone around here knows their courtship behavior. The say "croo-croo, croo-croo," repeatedly, ad infinitum, and the male sidles up to a female (or tries to; the females usually fly away) and bobs his head up and down rhythmically while he says "croo-croo, croo-croo," which, translated literally into English means "Hi, Cutie-pie, how'd you like to come back to my place for a pile of bird seed and a bit of nookie?" The female's normal response to this pickup line is to walk away with a disgusted look on her face, and if the bastard persists, to exercise the capabilities with which Mother Nature endowed her, and fly away in a snit. (Females don't bobs their heads or say "croo-croo." They just eat, make little turtle doves, and fly away from the head-bobbing bastards as often as they can.)

Trust me: everyone has seen this behavior about a gazillion times. Nobody would waste Flash Card space on it.

But try this one: gay turtle doves. Seriously.

Two males in the backyard. One sidles up to the other and bobs his head up and down and says "croo-croo, croo-croo." The other turtle dove walks away a few steps; turn around and bobs his head up and down and says "croo-croo, croo-croo." The repeat this over and over, and then, uh, cozy up. Then they repeat the head-bobbing and the "croo-crooing" over and over, and then, uh, cozy up again ... presumably taking it in turns for who's going to be on top.

Gay turtle doves.

So there you go: when anybody tries to tell you that there's no gay side to Nature, tell 'em they're dead wrong and they need to get out more. Sheep, seagulls, penguins, dolphins ... and turtle doves, as seen in Mel Keegan's backyard.

Like I said, one of those times when you wish you had a camera handy.

Ciao for now,

(Photos are by yours truly: turtle dove in the backyard; turtle in a pond at Worrowong Earth Sanctuary.)

No comments:

Post a Comment