Thats a wonderful story; thanks for sharing it. The longer I spend with
birds & animals, the less I see that separates us from other species other
than a small amount of conscious thought and far more destructive
tendencies. I don't know what they feel, but I believe that they feel a lot,
in a very raw kind of way. Birds are fascinating to me because they vocalise
so many of their feelings in the form of song and calls.
Around this time of year, we notice an almost `parent-like' attention given
to female mates by their male bird partners. A male will feed his mate with
the female begging like a juvenile, he'll offer more aggressive protection,
and typically non-affectionate mates will display affection for long periods
of time, such as grooming her or just snuggling.
Last year, a pair of pied butcherbirds near here lost their newly fledged
only baby, and the mother was angry and sullen for a long time afterwards.
They spent about 3 days looking for it and flying excitedly up to baby
magpies when they begged for food, hoping it was their lost young one. They
eventually pretty much adopted a baby magpie that was repeatedly attacked by
its mother when she had a second brood of young in the same year.
During the week of their baby's death, the male played a lot with his mate.
He would offer sticks to her, and wrestle her to the ground. I found them
playing `chasies' around a small bush one day, trying to wrestle a stick
from each other. I haven't seen them behave in this way at any other time,
other than when she was in mourning. I think he was trying to cheer her up.
Anyway thanks for the interesting topic for discussion. I hope one day there
will be a way to better understand the feelings of birds, and it won't be
left to speculation.
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