Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Don't Perch So Close to Me!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007
I spotted this pair of house finches in the birch tree outside the studio windows yesterday. They were exhibiting some unusual behavior. Every time the male tried to perch closer to the female, she scolded him and drove him away.

There are a number of possible explanations for his behavior:

1. The sunshine had him feeling spring in the air and you KNOW what THAT means.
2. He was cold and wanted to "spoon" for a few minutes.
3. Our birch tree and nearby feeders have become a sort of avian singles bar and he's the local lounge lizard/letch.

As for her behavior (and I'm only hypothesizing here, since I lack female intuition/insight):

1. She's looking for more in a relationship than just nice plumage.
2. She wants him to behave more like a male cardinal and bring her a seed, first.
3. She is worried he has House Finch Disease (though I saw no signs of it).

Eventually he gave up and flew off. When he did, I believe I caught just the slightest hint of disappointment in her bright eyes.

I'd be happy to hear your theories about this interaction.


On February 7, 2007 at 10:49 AM The Love Doctor said...

Miss House Finch is obviously annoyed by Mr. House Finch. She can tell by his obsessive behavior that he is the typical run-of-the-mill male house finch looking for love in all the wrong places. He's one of those male finches who looks females up and down without a care, thinks EVERY girl likes him and has much higher expectations than he really should-- just playing into the sterotypes. Miss House Finch (who is certainly not playing his games) is telling him with her stand-offish body language-- meet up with me in the spring and maybe I'll think about it...

On February 7, 2007 at 1:47 PM Patrick Belardo said...

Is the title of this post in honor of the upcoming Police reunion? (Don't Stand So Close to Me)

On February 7, 2007 at 1:55 PM Edit2 said...

I don't know . . . that seems like a longing look to me. I think she's disappointed that he gave up so easily.

On February 7, 2007 at 7:19 PM Dea Lloyd said...

Maybe she's just that into him.

It happens.

On February 8, 2007 at 9:35 AM Mary said...

Miss House Finch is flirting, actually, and playing hard to get. She loves a long courtship. Great post!

On February 10, 2007 at 10:13 AM katdoc said...

Nope, everybody has it wrong. This is a brother and sister House Finch, and he is crossing over The Line. If you ever took a road trip with your younger sibling in the back seat of the car, you know the first rule of travel: Don't cross over The Line. As in, "Mom! He's on my SIDE! AGAIN!!!"

The come-back to this is "Well, she's LOOKING at me!" whereupon Mom's reply is "Nobody is to touch anybody or look at anybody for the next 100 miles. I mean it." Meanwhile Dad revs the engine, sighs, and wonders why he planned this trip in the first place.

Since House Finches don't migrate, this the the nearest thing to Sibling Road Rage they can experience.

~Kathi, amature bird psychologist

On February 17, 2007 at 3:35 PM the travelling birder said...

it's most likely a pair-bonding ritual, which when repeated again and again intensifies their relationship, along with synchronizing their state of sexual readiness.