About the Book
Title Page
Dinosaurs in Disguise?: How birds came to be
The Cloaca Monologues: Courtship and breeding
A Cracking Start: Raising the family
Love and War: Why birds sing and call
Why Don’t Birds Wee?: Birds and their bodies
A Complex Relationship: Birds and man
The Majesty of Flight: How and why birds fly
Pole to Pole Without a Map: The mystery of migration
Just Behave: The remarkable behaviour of birds
Bird Brain: Instinct or intelligence?
The Battle to Survive: How birds are coping in a damaged world
References and acknowledgements
About the Author
Also by Niall Edworthy

Also by Niall Edworthy

The Curious Gardener’s Almanac

The British garden is a living encyclopaedia of curious and fascinating knowledge, the roots of which spread deep into human experience and culture. Gardeners have been growing vegetables, fruit and flowers for centuries. The Curious Gardener’s Almanac is a collection of remarkable facts, curiosities, ancient wisdom and customs, time-honoured tips, traditional recipes, lists, quotations and general ephemera, celebrating the British garden in all its splendid diversity and rich history. Never dry or dull, the choice of entries in the Almanac is neither categoric nor random: what has found its place here has done so on the merit of its curiosity or genuine use, and nothing else. The topics covered are as profuse and variegated as the world of gardening itself.

Witty and surprising, delve in to The Curious Gardener’s Almanac and be intrigued, amused, surprised, delighted and inspired.




Are birds really descended from dinosaurs?

The answer is somewhere between very probably and almost certainly, yet there is still some debate because the evidence about how and when birds evolved is not conclusive. To some ornithologists, on the other hand, the mystery is not whether birds are descended from dinosaurs but whether they are dinosaurs.

The bird–dinosaur debate began with the discovery in 1860 of a fossil in a limestone quarry in Bavaria that astounded the scientific community of the day. The 145-million-year-old fossil is a crow-sized skeleton covered in feathers and it has been so well preserved that even from a picture you can see that the creature was part bird, part reptile. It was dubbed ‘Archaeopteryx’, meaning ancient wing, and it is considered to be one of the most important fossil finds ever. The feathers, which are unique to birds, are obvious but the skeleton is very unbird-like with its long bony tail, teeth in place of a beak and claws on the wings, giving it a strong resemblance to the running lizard dinosaurs. If there had been no feathers with Archaeopteryx, it would have been wrongly classified as a small dinosaur, just as five previous finds had been. One was displayed in a museum as a running lizard dinosaur for decades before it was realized it was in fact Archaeopteryx.

The majority of ornithologists contending that birds are descended from dinosaurs point out that the two classes of creature share almost 100 physical characteristics, which is far more evidence than they would need to prove their case in a court of law. And in the last 15 years or so, archaeologists have unearthed even more evidence, including dinosaurs with bird-like features and primitive birds with dinosaur-like features.

The evidence, in both living birds and fossils, to support the theory that birds have evolved from two-legged, running dinosaurs is highly convincing, but it doesn’t quite clinch the argument. There are still gaps in the fossil record and other small pockets of doubt that the sceptics, like woodpeckers to a tree trunk, cling on to for the time being – if for no other reason than the sake of a good scientific quarrel. They believe that birds evolved from four-legged reptiles that lived in trees, insisting that any similarity between birds and dinosaurs is an example of convergent evolution, whereby two distinct, unrelated groups of creature coincidentally grow to resemble each other because they happen to live in similar environments.

I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.



Why not fur or scales like the rest of us?

Among the many characteristics that birds share with their putative dinosaur ancestors and with present-day reptiles, one of the most telling about their genetic relationship is a protein called keratin. The scaly skin of a reptile and the feathers of a bird are both composed of this robust fibrous compound, which strongly suggests that the latter evolved from the former. What’s more, birds still have scales on the lower parts of their legs and feet. The theory is that dinosaurs (or other reptiles) with frayed scales may have had a genetic advantage because they were able to trap air and thus keep warmer than the reptiles with standard scales, which had to wait for the sun to climb high into the sky to warm themselves by lying in its rays. The frayed scales, which slowly grew in length into feathers, helped conserve their owners’ energy, enabling the creatures to get to food sources first in the early morning. The sunbathers, meanwhile, will have been weaker in the morning and more sluggish in the ensuing scrap for food. Some of these latter species probably died out while their frayed and feathered cousins moved onwards and upwards.

There are other advantages to plumage that will have added even greater selective pressure: feathers gave birds camouflage and features to display during courtship, and above all the ability to fly.

Taking Archaeopteryx as the first bird, scientists estimate that a minimum of 150,000 to 175,000 different species of birds have existed throughout history, though some put the figure as high as 1.5 million. There are approximately 10,000 species alive today.

Taking the Evolutionary Express

Scientists are constantly amazed by the speed at which birds have mutated into a new form to suit an environment. Incontrovertible proof of this can be seen on the Galapagos Islands, which emerged from the Pacific Ocean floor to the west of Ecuador following a volcanic eruption roughly five million years ago (a short time in evolutionary terms). Birds began to arrive not long afterwards and, without any predators there to worry about, they quickly settled into a cosy existence, gorging on the abundant fish to be found around the islands and doing what they’re programmed to do, namely reproducing to continue their genetic line, as efficiently and actively as possible. The islands’ cormorants no longer needed wings and over time they grew shorter and shorter as the creatures evolved into the flightless birds we see there today.

The Archaeopteryx’s Song

I am only half out of this rock of scales.
What good is armour when you want to fly?
My tail is like a stony pedestal
and not a rudder. If I sit back on it
I sniff winds, clouds, rains, fogs where
I’d be, where I’d be flying, be flying high.
Dinosaurs are spicks and
all I see when I look back
is tardy turdy bonehead swamps
whose scruples are dumb tons.
Damnable plates and plaques
Can’t even keep out ticks.
They think when they make the ground thunder
as they lumber for a horn-lock or a rut
that someone is afraid, that everyone is afraid,
but no one is afraid. The lords of creation
are in my mate’s next egg’s next egg’s next egg,
stegosaur. It’s feathers I need, more feathers
for the life to come. And these iron teeth
I want away, and a smooth beak
to cut the air. And these claws
on my wings, what use are they
except to drag me down, do you imagine
I am ever going to crawl again?
When I first left that crag
and flapped low and heavy over the ravine
I saw past present and future
like a dying tyrannosaur
and skimmed it with a hiss.
I will teach my sons and daughters to live
on mist and fire and fly to the stars.


Evolution just a doddle

To many people, the feral pigeon, a familiar sight waddling along the pavements and squares of our cities and towns, is an ugly, unhygienic bird, a ‘rat with wings’ that should be shunned or even exterminated. But even its many detractors would have to acknowledge that the bird is one of the most successful species on the planet, with a rare ability to adapt with great speed to new environments and thereby ensure its survival – indeed increase. Such is its adaptability that the only place in the world where you won’t find the feral pigeon is on the polar icecaps. It has colonized everywhere else, which is no mean achievement for a species whose natural habitat was a rocky coastline until man began to domesticate the bird about the time of William the Conqueror. Since then, the birds have slowly moved into our towns where the food is plentiful and where the buildings provide similar, but much warmer homes than wind-blasted cliffs. No relation of the wood pigeon that nests in trees, the ‘feral’ descended from the rock dove, but it is now extremely rare to find them living on our coastlines. Most creatures take hundreds of thousands, even millions of years to leave one environment and adapt to another, but the unfancied feral pigeon has done it in under a millennium. So next time you walk past a ‘feral’ as it plucks some cold French fries out of a bin, raise your hat and give it a nod of respect.


The raven and the dove are the first birds to be mentioned by name in the Bible:

Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; And he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself. So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again.

Genesis 8:6–12


I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.



A turkey is more occult and awful than all the angels and archangels. In so far as God has partly revealed to us an angelic world, he has partly told us what an angel means. But God has never told us what a turkey means. And if you go and stare at a live turkey for an hour or two, you will find by the end of it that the enigma has rather increased than diminished.


Beastly Business

Bestiaries, popular in Europe in the Middle Ages, were books containing elaborate illustrations, descriptions of animals and often moral lessons to be drawn from their behaviour. Below are extracts from a bestiary from

THE PARROT IS A BIRD found in India that can be taught to speak like a man. It learns better when it is young, but if it will not learn one must hit it over the head with an iron bar. It can say ‘ave’ by nature, but must be taught all other words. Its beak is so hard that if the parrot falls from a height it can break its fall with its beak. Parrots are coloured green with a purple-red collar; they hate the rain because the water makes their colours appear ugly. There are two kinds of parrot: the kind with three toes have a mean disposition, but the ones with six toes are gentle.

THE OWL HAUNTS RUINS and flies only at night; preferring to live in darkness it hides from the light. It is a dirty, slothful bird that pollutes its own nest with its dung. It is often found near tombs and lives in caves. Some say it flies backwards. When other birds see it hiding during the day, they noisily attack it to betray its hiding place. Owls cry out when they sense that someone is about to die.

THE NIGHTINGALE HAS A SWEET SONG, and loves to sing. It sings to relieve the tedium as it sits on its nest through the night. At dawn it sings so enthusiastically that it almost dies. Sometimes nightingales compete with each other with their songs, and the one that loses the competition often dies.

THE HOOPOE is said to be a filthy bird that collects human dung and builds its nest with it, and eats bad-smelling excrement. It also likes to live around tombs. It is further said that if the blood of the hoopoe is rubbed on a sleeping man, devils will try to strangle him.

AT NIGHT, CRANES take turns keeping watch for enemies. The one who is on duty holds a stone up with one claw; if the watcher falls asleep the stone will fall and wake him. If the wind is strong cranes swallow sand or carry stones for ballast. Cranes are the enemy of pygmies, with whom they are constantly at war.


THE FLESH OF THE PEACOCK is so hard that it does not rot, and can hardly be cooked in fire or digested by the liver. Its voice is terrible, causing fear in the listener when the bird unexpectedly begins to cry out. Its head is like a snake, its breast is sapphire-coloured, it has red feathers in its wings, and has a long green tail adorned with eyes. If it receives praise for its beauty, it raises its tail, leaving its rear parts bare. When it suddenly awakes it cries out, because it thinks its beauty has been lost. It is a bird with great foresight. Its feet are very ugly, so the peacock refuses to fly high in order to keep its feet hidden.

AS YOUNG PELICANS GROW, they begin to strike their parents in the face with their beaks. Though the pelican has great love for its young, it strikes back and kills them. After three days, the mother pierces her side or her breast and lets her blood fall on the dead birds, and thus revives them. Some say it is the male pelican that kills the young and revives them with his blood.

A rare old bird indeed

The kiwi is a mighty queer creature, a fine example of how evolution will quickly dump some characteristics and replace them with others if left undisturbed for a few million years. Once upon a time, the ancestors of this endangered nocturnal bird could fly perfectly well, but today it has more in common with a hedgehog than with its feathered cousins. Found only in New Zealand, where it is strictly protected by law, this friendly, chicken-sized bird has wings that have been reduced by lack of use to no more than two-inch feathered stumps. In a land with no mammals to prey on it – until man arrived – the kiwi, like its flightless cousins the ostrich and the emu, had no reason to fly. Spending so much time on the ground, it developed an incredible sense of smell, using its long, slender, flexible bill, which has nostrils at the lower end, to forage for insects, grubs and worms on the forest floor – just as a pig or a hedgehog does.


Unlike its moa cousins and countless other species of New Zealand birds, the kiwi managed to survive the twin onslaught of man and his land mammals for two main reasons. First, it is highly alert to possible danger and although it may look ungainly it can outrun a human being. Then, if it does fail to escape its predator, it can deliver a flesh-tearing blow with its sharp, three-toed feet that will make even the hungriest or most determined interloper think twice about having a second go.

Numbers of different creature species
InsectsCountless millions

Why the ostrich gave up flying

All animals are programmed to expend as little energy as possible, so if a local ecology presents a bird with the chance of giving up on the exhausting business of flight it will take it with open wings. All flightless birds such as the kiwi, emu, rhea and cassowary retain all the major physical features to indicate that their ancestors once flew the skies, but over time, exploiting the favourable conditions on the ground, they adapted to a life on their feet, sprouting long powerful legs to make up for their inability to escape from predators by taking to the air. At full pelt, an ostrich can reach speeds of 80km/h and they could outrun most athletes for more than 20 minutes.


The ostrich is the tallest and heaviest bird in the world and its flightless cousins, with the exception of the kiwi, are huge too, but if they could still fly, they would be a fraction of their gargantuan size. The ostrich is to the wren what an elephant is to a pygmy mouse and its scale is key to its evolutionary success because it serves as a deterrent in itself. The ostrich weighs between 8 and 12 times more than the kori bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird. You’d have to be insensible with drink or stark raving bonkers to fight an ostrich, but if the whim ever took you, be warned that with one kick your feathered opponent could crush your skull, break your spine or rip out your innards.

Let us, before leaving the subject, once more look back across that awesome gulf of 150 million years to the days when Archaeopteryxes hopped about on the shores of the reedy pools in Bavaria. It is hard to conceive so long a time. The mind does not comprehend it. Imagine a line 150 feet long, each foot representing a million years; ourselves a point at this end, Archaeopteryx a point at the other. If we start moving toward the ancient bird, we shall find that by the time we have passed the days of Tut-ankh-amen’s great-grandfather, we shall have progressed a distance about equal to the width of a thick pencil-line, or one millimetre to 3333 years. After going back the vast space of a third of an inch we shall have passed far beyond historic times to the early Stone Age of Man, and at the end of an inch we shall be well into Glacial times. The first foot of our 150-foot journey will have brought us only to the beginning of the latest or Pleistocene epoch of earth’s history, and we will have accomplished less than half the journey ere we reach the fauna of the Paris basin and the great Diatryma of Eocene days. And even when we at length reach the journey’s end, we are still a long way from the starting point of birds. Thus we may realize that geologically speaking a thousand years is not really such a very long time; it is only that our thoughts are small.




Why do some birds settle down with partners and others play the field?

It is often said that 90 per cent of birds are monogamous in that a male and female will form a pair bond. A small percentage of birds, generally the larger ones that live longer, such as the swan and the albatross and most birds of prey, do settle down for life. But most animals aren’t built to stay faithful to one partner. On the contrary, they are ‘hardwired’ to put it about as much as possible: the male to spread his genes far and wide, and the female to choose the fittest mate to father and help rear the chicks. Monogamy is a risk that most animals, including birds, cannot afford to take.


Scientists now in fact draw a distinction between sexual monogamy (mating exclusively with one partner during the breeding season) and social monogamy (pairing up with a mate to raise offspring but also having a bit on the side if the opportunity presents). In one famous study, female blackbirds that paired with sterilized males still laid eggs that hatched. So while most birds, including all those in your back garden, like to pop to the hedge next door ‘to borrow some berries’, 90 per cent of birds are socially monogamous. This form of monogamy works for both sexes. The female gets an extra pair of mandibles to help around the home, building the nest, foraging for food, feeding chicks, disposing of waste, maybe even keeping the eggs warm. The male, meanwhile, gets to fulfil his main purpose in life, namely to continue the family line.

The Birds

He.    Where thou dwellest, in what grove,
Tell me Fair One, tell me Love;
Where thou thy charming nest dost build,
O thou pride of every field!

She.  Yonder stands a lonely tree,
There I live and mourn for thee;
Morning drinks my silent tear,
And evening winds my sorrow bear.

He.    O thou summer’s harmony,
I have liv’d and mourn’d for thee;
Each day I mourn along the wood,
And night hath heard my sorrows loud.

She.  Dost thou truly long for me?
And am I thus sweet to thee?
Sorrow now is at an end,
O my Lover and my Friend!

He.    Come, on wings of joy we’ll fly
To where my bower hangs on high;
Come, and make thy calm retreat
Among green leaves and blossoms sweet.



How do birds have sex?

This is not a straightforward business: bird breeding is like speed-dating with fighting; Newcastle city centre on a Friday night, only noisier and tougher. For most species, it goes something like this: the male starts staking out his territory in mid-winter, beats up or sees off any rivals that dare enter his patch, puts on his finest plumage (see peacocks) and/or starts to sing as loudly and attractively as he can to alert passing females, and then fixes a date with a mate – or several if he’s playing the field. The male really has his work cut out trying to woo the female, because she tends to reject his first few approaches, forcing him to try a bit harder each time until he’s almost worn himself out. She needs him to prove his fitness to father her young. Males, especially the feisty robin, sometimes have to fight off rivals for their mate’s affection (‘You looking at my bird or what?’). If the male succeeds in winning over the female, the next stage of the relationship is to build a nest. For most birds this is a joint enterprise.

Then, and only then, do the new couple finally get down to copulating – and this part is a very quick affair, surprising perhaps after all that scrapping and prancing about. Blink and you’ll miss it. After a bit of awkward fumbling and manoeuvring, the male mounts the female in a flash. Sperm is passed over when the male’s cloaca, a hole under his tail also used for excreting, is conjoined with the female’s. This is known as a ‘cloacal kiss’. The female turns the fertilized ovum into a newlaid egg in just 24 hours. As the female, typically, stores the sperm for days or even weeks, copulation need take place only once, though it may occur several times. Birds of prey, and large waders and shorebirds, will probably produce two eggs, laid two or three days apart; most other birds lay an egg every day, the overall number varying greatly between species. The pair then incubate their clutch for however long it takes (in the case of most garden birds, roughly two weeks). Once the chicks hatch, the parents feed them until they are ready to fledge, making hundreds of trips each day to and from the nest to deliver food. Great tits have been recorded as making over 1,000 trips a day. If you have ever wondered why the birds in your garden look a little tatty and dishevelled towards the end of the summer, now you know. Their offspring have run them ragged.


Once the breeding season is over, the bird’s reproductive organs shrivel up to reduce its weight for flying. The death rate among small garden birds is very high; they are doing well if they survive in their first year of life to experience a single breeding season of their own. In temperate regions like Britain, the peak breeding season is roughly March to June, when food sources for the young, such as caterpillars and flying insects, are most abundant.

Mute swans are one of just a handful of bird species that take a partner for life. The ‘divorce rate’ among mute swan couples is roughly 5 per cent. (The equivalent figure for the Bewick’s swan, a Siberian bird that winters in Britain, is even lower, at less than 1 per cent.) Mutes don’t rush into their relationships either; courtship is elaborate and flirtatious, resuming at the start of each breeding season. The courting couple indulge in a theatrical display of affection known as ‘head-turning’, in which the two birds touch breasts and, inadvertently of course, form the shape of a heart. The male, or cob, is highly protective of his partner, the nest the pair build and the young they produce and it’s best to give cobs a wide berth during the breeding season. Swans’ parenting behaviour is similar to the traditional human model, with the male as the protector and the female as the nurturer, although the male will ‘help around the house’ too. Both will look after the cygnets and take them for rides on their backs to keep them safe from predators.

Serial adulterers

Over 50 per cent of reed bunting chicks are not fathered by the pair male but are the result of an adulterous liaison, the highest recorded rate of ‘infidelity’ among any bird species.

How birds manage to build nests, often highly elaborate ones, is one of nature’s greatest miracles. Try making one with your hands using twigs, hair, spittle and moss, and see how far you get. Now try making one with your mouth. The fact that birds can make them using just a beak, often to minute specifications and incredibly intricate designs, is remarkable. Some nests are conspicuously scruffy, such as those of doves, pigeons, house sparrows and crows, but most are elaborate structures built to design specifications unique to their species. Constructing the future family home takes a huge amount of effort and expenditure of energy. Long-tailed tits, for instance, use roughly 2,000 feathers in building a nest and fly over 600 miles to collect all the materials. Spiders are vital to birds in the breeding season as their sticky webs are used by a great number of birds as a glue or mortar for binding together the main construction materials of twigs, moss, grasses, hair and feathers.

And I beheld the birds in the bushes building their nests, which no man, with all his wits, could ever make. And I marvelled to know who taught the magpie to lay the sticks in which to lay her eggs and to breed her young; for no craftsman could make such a nest hold together, and it would be a wonderful mason who could construct a mould for it.


The nest of the goldcrest is one of the finest examples of avian engineering skills. Europe’s smallest bird needs as much warmth as it can get because it has such a low ratio of body volume to surface area. All birds are vulnerable to the cold because they need to maintain a high body temperature, but the minuscule goldcrest is especially at risk. So, over millions of years, they’ve learned how to construct highly sophisticated homes for their chicks. Using cobwebs as a kind of suspension rope, the goldcrest hangs its sack-like nest towards the end of a long branch, safe from predators. It also uses cobwebs as the glue for an outer wall made of lichen and moss, which is then lined with layers of feathers, hair and more moss. The breathtaking detail of the design is demonstrated in the entrance, which is situated at the top of the sack under or very close to the branch, which acts almost as a door to keep out the cold. As a finishing touch, the little birds even add a screen or curtain of large feathers around the entrance.

Boring but true

A cousin of the cormorant, the shag has caused much amusement in the back row of the classroom for generations, but the name, by which it has been known since the early Middle Ages, has nothing to do with its reproductive habits. The word refers to the shaggy tuft of plumage that appears on the top of its head in the summer.

The lengths males will go to …

Male birds often have to go the extra mile – and more – to attract a mate. Songbirds sing until they almost burst with the effort; the male wren builds over a dozen nests for the female to choose from; the tern brings a fish as a love gift; cranes dance together; the peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest creature, stages a spectacular aerobatic display; swans go on a protracted date before committing, and the male peacock has – over tens of millions of years – developed the most spectacular fan of tail feathers for the sole purpose of attracting a female. But the grebe conducts the most elaborate and romantic courtship ritual (at least to sentimental, dewy-eyed humans), with male and female meeting breast to breast and then dancing with each other for several days.


Pluck off, pal, she’s mine

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the striking colourful plumage of the cock pheasant that sets hens’ hearts a-flutter in the breeding season, it’s the red, fleshy lobes – or ‘wattles’ – hanging off his face. When the male is aroused, the wattles inflate, their size telling the female everything she needs to know about his physical well-being, including testosterone levels. Pheasant breeding is a supreme form of selective breeding, regulated not by man but by their own instinctive behaviour, an avian Nazi-style eugenics programme happening right here, on the other side of our hedges. The fittest males attract the most females – which explains why you often see half a dozen of the dull, brown females following one brightly coloured male. They frequently end up all living together in a kind of polygamy. Top males pull all the birds and get to fulfil their raison d’être, to continue their line, leaving the losers to hop about in the undergrowth and wait to get shot by a chinless man in plus fours high on sherry and brandy. The ‘loser’ birds often hang around other pheasants in the hope of jumping an unsuspecting female when the big, scary stud pheasant with massive wattles is too busy filling his face with grain to notice. But if the capo catches him in the act, a very nasty fight will ensue. Like cockerels, pheasants have sharp spurs on their feet that can cause severe damage; it is at this point that the loser pheasant finds out that nature hasn’t just endowed his rival with a superior pair of wattles, but also much bigger spurs.


The strange case of the homosexual necrophiliac duck

In 1995, Dutch researcher Kees Moeliker was sitting in his office in Rotterdam’s Natural History Museum when a drake mallard crashed into the clear glass façade of the building and slumped to the ground dead. When Moeliker went outside a few minutes later to inspect the casualty, he was shocked to find another male mallard viciously pecking the back of its head. After a couple of minutes, this drake mounted the corpse and started to copulate furiously, pecking the dead duck’s head as he did so. This continued for a full 75 minutes before Moeliker made his presence known, whereupon the necrophiliac drake ceased its morbid humping and waddled off to peck some grass. Moeliker was so astonished by what he had witnessed that he set out to investigate the science behind it, and earned himself the coveted Ig Nobel prize for improbable research in the biology category. Moeliker, now the museum’s bird curator, believes the pair were engaged in a ‘rape flight attempt’: a common phenomenon in the duck world where the male pursues another duck and forces it to mate. ‘Rape is a normal reproductive strategy in mallards,’ he was reported in the press as saying. ‘When one died the other one just went for it and didn’t get any negative feedback – well, didn’t get any feedback.’


Can a bird be gay?

Homosexuality in animals is a controversial subject. Some people use the ambiguous evidence as proof that same-sex orientation is completely natural, others to show that it is completely not. You stride into the gay bird debate at your peril. To muddy the water still further, the really unhelpful answer to this question is: yes, no, maybe.