"How necessary it is that the utmost caution should be exercised in forming our attachments."
Although the weather gives no hint of spring anytime soon, all avifauna is proclaiming it. 'The Etiquette of Love and Courtship' is a small pocket-book which carries advice for lovers, collected from the 1850s onwards. I feel a certain overlap between its' intended human audience and the more feathery-covered class of animals.
Some birds change their plumage in order to attract the best mate, and most often it is the male who is more brightly or intrically coloured:
"If the lady to whom you are paying your addresses is possessed of taste and discernment, you will act properly in submitting to her judgement with regard to your dress."
Some birds choose a different partner every season:
"The man who obtains the good graces of woman in general, is seldom worth the regard of any one in particular ... Of all before our observation, the most loathsome is the female coquette. Men are flirted with, and true affection becomes a sport."
Some birds* have (ahem) interesting mating behaviours:
"Some men are ever ready to disguise their real character and it is no easy matter for a lady to scan it. He may have all the traits of a gentleman - a handsome exterior and well-skilled in points of etiquette - but these are not sufficient to constitute an agreeable home companion."
* read up about stitchbird (hihi) mating behaviour sometime
Some birds mate for life:
"Domestic happiness can be secured by endeavouring to meet with a companion whose disposition, temper and whole deportment will bear the strictest scrutiny."
Birds cannot write, but instead sing to communicate with each other:
"Express your meaning as freely as possible. There is still something requisite towards the writing of a polite and agreeable letter and that is an air of good breeding."
Yes, just over a month to daylight savings, and those of the hollow bones are already preening, displaying, courting and ......... it seems some have been at it for a while!