“If I hear the music, I’m gonna dance.”
– Det. Kima Greggs, The Wire
Spring migration is taking a breather, with an average of 25 birds caught in the last 3 or 4 days and an almost unnoticeable movement in the field. However, not everything is quiet. Breeding birds are already displaying, sometimes with such an amazing performances. Common redstarts are really busy singing and defending territory in our garden, where yesterday I got the nice surprise of a couple of wrynecks singing and showing well. They seemed to forget about millions of years of evolution trying to become invisible and, sat on a very exposed branch, sang as loud as they could.
A few hours before, in the desertic (literally and non-literally talking) Skanörs revlar, the Red-breasted mergansers were twisting their necks to attract the only single female of the area. The sex ratio in this species is something like 7:1, with most of the schools those days composed by several males and only one or a few females. The competition is hard, and only the chosen few succeed in breeding.
Meadow pipits were also spreading their parachutes, calmly falling from the sky while compulsively singing. There are lots of them, but there are even more Skylarks. An idea for a bird race: how many species can you hear in a skylark song within 24h?
In the way back home, I saw some shelducks already far from the water. I flushed a flock of them in the middle of a pine tree forest and those 4 were sat on a roof. Their place in the pools has been occupied by the coots, some of them with a strong sense of responsibility that lead them to have their nests already built.
Most of birds look so self-confident while displaying, probably a part of their success depends on that. Even thought, predators are attentive to take profit of a risky brave male singing from the top of a tree. Game theory is what is actually driving the breeding success. It’s just the same in birding: it’s good to do your best in the field, but sometimes it’s worth to stay at home, avoiding being tired, waiting for a proper wave of migrants.