[photo credit: Andreas Trepte http://www.photo-natur.de/]
i. (red necked phalarope)
Slender neck accentuated with red,
she stuns all with her egregious display,
takes a poor, suckered male into her bed,
leaves him on the eggs, returns to her play.
Her attraction for him lasted a fling,
but he was too small to really impress,
he stays out of sight, helps with chick feeding,
if he’s seen, she’d kill, eat, and then digest.
iii. (a human bird)
Mediocrity’s so intolerable,
her mind craves an intellectual peer,
becomes dissatisfied and miserable,
as his inadequacies become clear.
These three examples should act to blow holes
in traditional, stereotypical roles.
Red neck phalarope females are unusual in that they are the colorful sex that take to displaying to attract a mate. The courting pair build a nest together, she lays the eggs, but leaves him to hatch the eggs and raise the chicks. She heads off to display again.
Hen harrier females, like many birds of prey, are larger than the males. However, the size difference (they were once thought to be different species, not just simply different sexes) is such that “he” is about the size of her potential prey, and after the initial amorous union, has to stay out of sight for fear of being killed and eaten. He, nevertheless, works to provide food for the chicks, making sure “she” isn’t looking.
And us female ‘birds’, well those gender inequalities can work both ways, and don’t guys just know it!