Wild Romance

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    Nazca boobies don't need Hallmark (via NOAA)
    Nazca boobies don’t need Hallmark (via NOAA)

    This column, That Nature Show, is about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks!  Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.

    Stuck in a rut of chocolate and roses for Valentine’s Day? Snore.

    Your romantic life needs some zing! Like, maybe, oh, for instance, have you considered a mating dance like the many very successful songbirds of Borneo? There’s a little bird that can moonwalk.  Certain species of birds of paradise flash iridescent feathers and really get groovy on the dance floor. I have to admit this floats my boat.

    These Weird Animal Courtship Displays are Probably Better Than Your Valentine’s Day Plans. That headline really bummed me out, because it’s true. I had planned some molten flourless dark chocolate heart cakes but then I saw what some animals do. Molten chocolate cakes are vanilla. Frisky black drum fish in Florida have kept people awake all night long. Anyone whose ever had a roommate knows what that’s like. Our own Chesapeake oyster toad fish sounds like a foghorn.

    Dr. Jennifer Verdolin’s 2014 book Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us About Human Relationships suggests that if you want a happy long-term situation, it’s best to emulate the wandering albatross. These large seabirds dance, bill, vocalize, share nest-sitting duties, and consistently over their long lifespans greet each other with sweetness and enthusiasm, which is a lot more than me and my Husb. do.

    We’re more likely to look up and say, “Oh hey, I didn’t notice you there, were you behind that plant, doing some kind of mating dance?! I was so involved in catching up with my Pinterest Lady Mary’s hat collection, but now that I’ve see you, did you take out the trash/review the kids’  math homework/schedule that root canal already? Love ya, hon. Air kiss.”

    Verdolin offers serious and scientific and fun dating advice from an animal perspective on The D.L. Hughley Show. Here’s what I’m taking to heart this week, in the lead-up to the wild romance of the exchange of Hallmark cards on Valentine’s Day on February 14 next weekend: don’t act like a blue-footed booby.


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