Birds Do It: Falling in Love



While waiting for my wife who was at a dental appointment at an office on Clark Rd in Sarasota, I noticed some parrots flying by and making loud calls. At first one and then another settled on a wire and an interesting interaction emerged between them.

These are feral Nanday conures, or black-hooded parakeets that originated in South America. They have been kept for pets and were released and have apparently bred in their new home in Florida. They have a startling array of colors- green, blue red and black and the sexes are similar. So the bright colors are likely involved in species recognition. In our area this exotic parrot is primarily limited to the Sarasota area and to highly developed habitats. Thus they seem unlikely to significantly threaten native species. Escaped eoxtics such as these are also subject to frequent extinction as seems to be happening to previously common monk parakeets.

Parrots are one of the most intelligent birds and for this reason and their beauty have long intrigued humans. Their interesting social behavior was evident as first one parakeet landed, then a second and they began to interact. They preened one another and there was a joining of beaks ( a “kiss” or perhaps feeding of the female by the male on the right). Then this friendly behavior progressed to mating !

One Bird on a Wire
Two Birds on a Wire
Let’s Be Friends
Let’s Share a Kiss
Let’s Share More Than a Kiss

So you never know what you may see at a dental appointment. But watch out- it may be not only X-rays at the dentist, but X- rated among the birds outside !


Bill Dunson

About Bill Dunson

Bill Dunson, born in rural Georgia, skipped 12th grade and went directly to Yale. Bill subsequent-ly received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Michigan, studying softshell turtles. Bill is Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University thanks to a career spent entirely at that institution, teaching and doing research on the physio-logical ecology and ecotoxiciology of reptiles, amphibians and fish. Always curious about nature, Bill has dedicated his life to learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He has served on many advisory boards here in Southwest Florida to preserve the water that gives life to our region.

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