The Secret Life of the DunnockFriday 28th April 2000
If I've followed the action without missing any of the moves, I've probably just witnessed part of the complex love-life of this little brown bird. By colour-ringing individual birds, ornithologists discovered that the female dunnock, in addition to her regular mate, often has a 'satellite' male lurking at the edge of the territory.
'White-tail' the Blackbird and his mate are nesting in the dense evergreen foliage of a garden shrub next door. He makes a bowing, beak-agape display to his mate and she joins in. I'm watching through a window so I can't tell whether there is any vocalisation involved. The display reminds me of John Travolta's disco-posing in Saturday Night Fever.
The red petals have fallen from the garden Tulips, leaving a plain-looking green column on top of which the seeds are starting to develop.