Thursday, May 11, 2006

Clown Heads of Babcock

Here's yet another amazing tale from the New River Birding and Nature Festival, held last weekend in south-central West Virginia.

At first the tiny clown heads were shy. But we eventually won their trust.

While dining upon sumptuous cold cuts at the covered picnic shelter at Babcock State Forest, near Danese, WV, our little band of birders was approached by two tiny plastic clown heads. At first the little clown heads were quite shy. But then, as they realized that we were more interested in a nearby male bay-breasted warbler than in some tiny plastic clown heads, they began to act more naturally.

Soon, they faced off and began to perform the ancient courtship ritual that tiny plastic clown heads are known to do. This courtship dance has only recently been described to science, and is formally known as "The Salad Hat Dance."

"I may be dirty, but I sure can DANCE! I call it Dirty Dancin'!"

In The Salad Hat Dance, one tiny plastic clown head adorns his head with a piece of salad or some condiment (this ritual is commonly performed near picnic areas in parks or sometimes even in backyards, if the right bits of salad are available). He then offers a different piece of salad to his partner. By accepting this offering of salad, the saladee is indicating his/her willingness to mate (these tiny plastic clown heads are almost impossible to sex, unless in the hand, and then they are quite vicious).

"Hey! Nice hat!"
"Right back at ya!"

We watched the drama, the spectacle, the sheer majesty unfolding before us.
Then, with a quick honk of his nose, the salader copulated with the saladee, and they ate their salad hats together. It was all over in about 15 seconds. Those of us watching shared a cigarette and the last bit of bean dip. Then we headed back to the waiting vans for more birding.

Nature, in its purest form has such a capacity to amaze and renew us, doesn't it?


At 6:33 PM, Blogger MojoMan said...

And who said birders are weird?

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Rondeau Ric said...

My son!


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