A bouquet for Miss Sparrow
To the question: ‘Should I buy flowers for a first date?’ The answer from the love coach is clear: ‘I have not met a woman yet who would feel disappointed about flowers on any date’. So it seems (?) that male sparrows are not old school but just up to date in love affairs. On my pic, it is a male Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus, ‘moineau friquet’ in French). It was courting a female on an old wall in a small city nearby. It did not spend much energy to find the bouquet: it simply collected a stalk of Wall Whitlow Grass (Draba muralis) on the very same wall where it was performing its courtship, chattering and hopping around its partner in a cute manner like a wind-up toy. Science tells us that in birds the courtship gestures made by males to attract females can involve performing nest-building movements, to demonstrate their skills as potential husbands and fathers. But I cannot help thinking that there is also an aesthetic dimension in the choice of the bouquet. This nest-building behavior seems to be unique to the tree sparrow. Its cousin the widespread house sparrow (Passer domesticus) does not appear to perform such behaviors, at least I was not able to find any evidence of this. A less subtle difference is that in the house sparrow the sexes are very different, whereas in the tree sparrow they are similar with both sexes having a similar head pattern to that of the house sparrow male. Obviously, this masculine appearance of female tree sparrows do not make the male of this species less romantic.