Unusual friskiness

Richard Bradus

Hi all

I spent some of the noon hour today at Simonds Loop and witnessed some behavior I've not seen or been aware of before.

A CA Towhee called a few times before becoming visible through a hedge, looking about carefully with a beak full of grassy nesting material. To my surprise, another flew in, displayed briefly and then proceeded to copulate with the first. Another display-copulation commenced less than a minute later. The (presumed) male then flew off and the female - with nesting material still in her beak - flew off in the same direction about half a minute later, likely toward the nest site (but I was unable to follow).

This simultaneous rearing/mating behavior is something I've never seen before in this, or any other, avian species. Has this been described or documented by others? Oddly timed and a bit excessive to me, but maybe I'm just getting old.

Though summer is quickly approaching, it seems the rites of spring remain powerful.

Richard Bradus
San Francisco

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