r selection and valentine's day22nd Feb 2018
R selection and Valentine's day
Sometimes you observe a snapshot of a wider phenomenon, when everything is telescoped into a tiny segment of time. Valentine's day was a case in point.
Some species, such as collared dove, have found an ecological release and zipped across an area, breeding hard and often. The result? Burgeoning populations and filled niches. One trait in r-selected birds is to breed very early, and often.
St Valentine's day is associated with birds pairing up, and in the fullness of time etc. If you are an r-selected species, you'll save all of that wasted time, and get on with it pronto.
In the few days leading up to February 14th I had noted a pair of collared doves around in the fruit trees. By the first light of the 14th they were necking hard and then mating. Shortly after that, they were snapping twigs, and building what passes for a nest in the collared dove world. By late afternoon, there were shells of collared dove eggs neatly opened near the nest. No, they didn't manage to fledge on the 14th too, but it looked to be a bravura performance of doing everything in a short time scale. I guess that the egg shells came from another nest, but it was an indication that early breeding is an interesting option. Yes, the nest is being brooded still. Perhaps they've heard the weather forecast and are sitting tight until it warms up. Time will tell.
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