I’m a perv. Not really, but it is bit odd to spend hours watching birds from a bridge and mentally willing theme to mate. I had been seeing courtship behaviour for about a week and was really keen to see some ‘confirmation’ of what was to come. I didn’t really think I would, considering at most I’d spend 2-3 hours a week looking at those particular birds.
I got it though! One minute, the female was aloof and had no interest whatsoever. The next, she was sitting in the nest with her wings out somewhat. I have no idea how they actually manage to fertilize an egg – or eggs? – considering their cloacas don’t seem to touch.
I’ll admit, it does feel a bit weird getting so excited over getting these shots. Especially when it is a ‘blink and you miss it’ event. Really, though, I don’t care about the mating. I sorta do – because successful mating indicates that the fun behaviour, of nesting and hatching, is yet to come. It is more the behaviour that leads up to the event. It’s the waiting, while people shout rude things at you for taking photos from a bridge. It’s getting confirmation of some of your theories about the behaviour.
This will be the end of this particular part of my research. Someone did comment that their seemed to be more nesting behaviour here then in the previous years, so I’ll have to make monthly checks during the breeding season next year.
I’ll be doing a write up of trends I’ve noticed with both these and the cormorants. Next year I hope to focus on breeding behaviour of different species though 🙂