March 25th 2014

STOP PRESS: 3 eggs for the Sheffield Peregrines tonight. I mentioned in January that I would come back to the mating behaviour of the Dunnock, and since there are regularly 3 Dunnock showing mating displays in the back garden, this seems like a good time to do so. Unusual in birds, Dunnock are polyandrous, meaning that the chicks within one brood often have different fathers. This has been proved by DNA fingerprinting. A female can mate many times in a day with different males, and those males often stay to provide care for the young in direct proportion to their mating success, so two males often join the female to feed the young of the same brood. I assume that two of the three Dunnock shown are males. They flutter their wings and sing their lovely delicate song to attract the female, as can be seen in the photographs. When built, their nests are fairly easy to locate in hedges or shrubs, so it’s worth keeping an eye open to see where they regularly fly, when it’s time to nest. Conditions: Cool, cloudy with showers and a gentle easterly breeze. Temperature: Max 7- Min 3c

Dunnock- fast wing-fluttering is part of their  mating behaviour

Dunnock- fast wing-fluttering is part of their mating behaviour

Dunnock- 1 of 3 regularly displaying

Dunnock- 1 of 3 regularly together

Dunnock singing -part of it's mating behaviour

Dunnock singing -part of it’s mating behaviour

 

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