Frogs are croaking, insects are hatching, and the mini-daffs are in bloom. It’s spring! These days I wake to the glorious song of the House Finches, whose song first piqued my curiosity about birdsong.
Did you ever wonder (as I did) how such tiny creatures belted out such beautiful melodies? The answer lies partly in the fact that they have two voice boxes (syringes) that they coordinate, using air expelled through two bronchi, as they sing. This mechanism allows finches to sing two intertwined tunes at once, creating one gorgeously complex song.
The more complex the song, and the redder the plumage, the more likely she is to say ‘yes’.
This assertive yet poetic female, frustrated by the lack of mating finesse of the House Finches in the yard, decides to share a few tips …
On How to Woo Me
Let’s get this straight: it’s not your size or sparkling eyes that interest me.
What rattles my feathers, what makes me bill
Is just the right colour and just the right song.
I’m looking for RED, a head as red as red as can be
And a song – a song that’s big and loud and long
Longer than those other guys.
And maybe try that butterfly dive some of your fellow finches do
Fly way up high above the trees
Then glide my way your throat on fire
With gorgeous tones that tease and please: now that might do the trick.
Maybe then I’ll let you gently poke my bill
Maybe then I’ll bow and droop my wings
And flutter like a sweet young thing, all timid and submissive
And let you feed me seeds and knotwood, thistle, fruit.
Maybe then we’ll plan to make some baby birds
In April, when the daffodils are out.
Yes! It worked!!
And perhaps, a few months down the road …