January 29

Life goes on. Just look at these two crested pigeons! The male is bowing to his potential mate, trying his best to impress her. If he does everything just right, if his feathers are in fine shape, then perhaps a bond will form and he will be the father of her offspring. In many animal species it is the female (and not the male) who decides who will be the father of her offspring. Female choice is a very powerful evolutionary force and has shaped secondary sexual characteristics such as the long tail of the peacock, the huge claw of the fiddler crab, and the mane of a lion. If the females of a species prefer males with certain attributes, those males who happened to be born with those things luck out. Their genes get selected, end up in the offspring, and over many generations, certain traits evolve and flood the population.


If it weren’t for reproduction, not only would a species go extinct in short order, but for humans at least, it would be a sad day watching your elders pass away with no one to fill in the ranks. Perhaps dolphins, elephants, chimps, and parrots can also feel the loss of an old one passing. A few moments ago a friend told me about a flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos that flew into her yard to have a bit of food from the bird feeder. One of the cockatoos must have been a hundred years old, it’s feathers were in a bit of a mess, it had lots of age visible in the skin around its eyes. It couldn’t get to the feeder and just perched nearby on the lawn. The other birds would bring it food from the feeder and make sure it had enough to eat! Surely we try and keep care of our own as long as we can, but eventually there is a time to go. One day that oldest parrot won’t fly around with the flock anymore.

If you have never seen a baby kangaroo, you have really missed out on witnessing the ultimate cuteness factor!



Often baby animals of many species appear really cute. I don’t think it is just a human feeling, but that perhaps animal cuteness evolved in many species because the young probably look cute to the parents too and in that way the parents are tricked into feeding them and taking care of them even when the babies are annoying! It’s summer now in Australia and many fledgling birds are about begging for food. Interestingly, across the species chasm, the begging calls clearly ring out as one in the same. I think these helpless sounds tug at the heart strings of the parents and serve to make sure that junior gets the next bug or grub. In this photo, the

20140130-144418.jpg grey butcherbird begs continually; to me the parent looked annoyed.

I have a grand baby now and wow is she cute! Babies are kind of like that, aren’t they. I wonder what a mother kangaroo would say, if she could pull the thoughts together and talk, if she saw a cute baby girl like my Elsa? I’m ending this post with a cute picture of my parents taken a long, long time ago and one taken the other day that shows Elsa and Lyra on the left, my beautiful Mom in the red sweater, surrounding by loving family. In these times, thankfully, we have reproduction and our family will go on.




3 thoughts on “Reproduction

  1. bettyburch

    we’ll be seeing you soon from half way around the world. Bring me a a pet bower bird green/black preferably. love mom


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