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Courtship, Display and Copulation.

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I've used the eBird description as I could not find a similar previous thread, I may have missed it.

Approaching spring so lots of activity today - Mallards doing their thing and a bonded pair of Redheads showing their affinity and the female constantly repelling other males.

Mallard pair cop FM HVT-7538108.jpg

Redhead pair and 1m HVT HVT-7538060.jpg

Redhead pair repelling 2m HVT HVT-7538074.jpg

Redhead pair repelling 1m HVT HVT-7538066.jpg

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I’ve got a question. I’ve seen chickadees (Black-capped and Carolina) do a “wing-shaking” think while giving odd calls, which I’ve always assumed was a courtship display and/or territorial thing. I’ve seen it done in all seasons though… so is it actually not a display?

Edited by Avery
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44 minutes ago, meghann said:

That last picture cracks me up. Or should I say quacks me up? ???

The male looked like he was either impressed or intimidated by the ferocity of his partner. She kept this up for at least 15 minutes before I moved on.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This morning I saw some Ruddy Ducks trying to show off!  They were sticking their tails up and flying it short bursts across the water.  I hadn't seen this before, so it was neat to see the displays.  This was in northern Arizona.









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2 hours ago, GracesWarbler said:

Whoa, that's fantastic!  How close were you to the Merganser?  Did you have to do anything in particular to get that shot?

Thanks! I was well hidden on the bank of a river at water level near a warm water discharge from a nearby wastewater treatment plant which explains the steam on the water. Sometimes during unusual cold spells this area will attract large numbers of waterfowl, this time a few mergansers showed up and this one started doing this courtship display near some females. This particular area was a calm eddy which kept the mergansers close to shore. The only thing I had to do was be still and wait. This shot was taken at 700mm on a full frame camera so it wasn't super close.

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  • 2 months later...

I didn't grab the camera quick enough to get a shot of the female showing her readiness to mate with her head down and tail spread out on the ground before the male was on top of her.



They adjusted their position a few times, in relation to both the camera and each other.



After dismounting the female, the male stood up tall looking quite proud of himself.



After a short break, approximately 20 seconds short, they coupled again and provided a third angle of view.



The dismount was followed by the male strutting away a bit before flying off, followed shortly afterwards by the female.



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