I have mentioned before that this house seems quite handy for watching birds, and the view from my bedroom into the little orchard provides some interesting moments. Lately, there have been a few starlings and I have always been quite fond of these rather maligned birds. In large numbers, they may be a nuisance, but we only seem to have about half a dozen and they are fairly quiet. Our noisy birds are definitely the sparrows and these recently gave me an interesting, if brief, view of the rituals attached to their social life.
While I was admiring the plumage of the starlings, two sparrows, one male, one female, flew in - and the ritual began immediately. The male, very dapper, turned his back on the female, and to my surprise, started to dance. He arched his head back, tail up, and danced in an arc around her, facing away from her all the time. (I can't say that she seemed very impressed, she just carried on looking for seeds and tiny scraps of food!). He kept this up for a few minutes, long enough for me to be sure it was definitely some sort of deliberate ritual, not just a random movement. Sadly, before I could see what might happen next, something spooked them, and they flew off.
His dancing reminded me of a step in Scottish Country Dancing, where you do dance round each other, back-to- back. This step is (phonetically) generally called "dozy-do", which is, as you will all immediately have realised: dos-à-dos !!