Monday, September 1, 2008

Birds’ Mating Ritual Kind Of Stinks

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – A species of birds in Alaska have a sweet, yet stinky, mating ritual.

Hector Douglas – assistant professor of biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks – has been researching crested auklets, small black and grey seabirds, and their love lives.

He’s discovered that the birds rub a citrus-like scent on one another during courtship, which makes their hormones go cuckoo.

The ritual could be considered “necking” since the birds rub their odor all over their mate’s face and neck.

Romance doesn’t end there for auklets.

They’re largely seabirds, but they retreat to romantic Alaskan islands to breed in the spring and summer.

And the male auklets sure know how to woo a gal.

Douglas says males make a “trumpeting call” to let lady birds know they’re on the market.

He explains, “It’s a self-advertisement call. They’re saying, ‘I’m here!’”

But luckily, male auklets aren’t feathered players.

To Douglas’ knowledge, a stable partnership is formed through breeding, and auklets remain monogamous.

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