When I was in the fifth grade in my little hometown in Pennsylvania, the school put on dancing lessons. At the start of each session, the boys and girls would line up on either side of the auditorium and then race toward each other in a chaotic rush to find partners for that day.
I’m reminded of that frantic and frightening pairing as the spring migration comes to a close across the U.S. and billions of birds are searching for mates. Instead of a few weeks of dancing lessons, they will commit to building homes, starting families and raising their young.
It’s no wonder that the woods, fields and marshes are filled with birds howling at the top of their lungs. They have a lot riding on a song.
A few species, including Bald Eagles, Atlantic Puffins, Black Vultures and Blue Jays, mate for life. But most of North America’s 1,000 or so species have to find new mates every spring.
Romance is very much in the air in the birding world.