After posting yesterday about the Dunnock ‘cage fight’, David and myself later on that evening about 7pm watched for about half an hour as the Dunnock couple hopped about the yard. They seemed so relaxed and at ease in their surroundings. They started pecking about the soil looking for worms and then they hopped around the yard gobbling up the seed that the Pigeons had left previously.
The male looks more brown than the female who was looking twice as large as the male and had a more grey head. Like the female a few days before the male came right up close to the patio doors and we stood very still while he pecked about.
We witnessed the female showing signs of wanting to mate as she kept shaking her tail at the male who mostly ignored her though when they did come to the mating they did it behind the cover of a bin. Only David, standing on tip toe could see the male pecking at the females’ cloaca and hopping behind her. The mating is usually instantaneous and afterwards they both sat underneath the patio table like they were resting. 😀
We left them tootling about the yard, sitting in the Hebe bush and hunting for insects. I am very hopeful for fledgling Dunnocks come this May. 🙂
There is some fantastic footage of the Dunnock mating and their complicated relationships on the BBC Nature site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Dunnock#p007tx02
Or you can read about them from Bird Guides: http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=1047
It has been very cold this weekend, as the temperatures have fallen from a balmy 20 mid week to 11 degrees this Saturday. 😦 This has been felt by the birds as the Blue Tits have been flying into the yard eating sunflower seeds and fat balls periodically all day. I worry about them as the weather is supposed to become increasingly colder come the week ahead.