Seductive bird songs filter in through my office window. It’s Valentine week, and love is in the air. If you’re looking to add romance to your date, use these ten tips from nature.
Tip #1 is to take advantage of music and song. Many species besides birds rely on their voices to win a mate. In the spring, the male frogs living in the swamp near our cabin are so loud I’ve had to wear earplugs to fall asleep. Other vocalists include the male whales who attract mates through slow, deep “jamming sessions” either performing solo, or with a group. How about wooing your valentine by heading to your favorite nightclub?
Along with seductive tunes, tip #2 is to shine up those dancing shoes. Years ago I participated in the sandhill crane count. Watching the bouncy courtship display of both the energetic male and female crane left a lasting impression. A more colorful example would be the blue-footed booby from the Pacific Ocean tropics. The male spreads his wings and stamps his bright blue feet on the ground to impress his lady. How about an evening of both music and dancing?
Tip #3 is to update the old wardrobe. Many male birds such as the showy peacock or the long-tailed widowbird are great role models. The widowbird’s tail is nearly two feet long. It slows it down while flying, making it more susceptible to predators, but the flashiness sure does draw in the ladies. Who’s up for a shopping trip?
Tip #4 comes from male sage grouse who use their chests as inflatable display pieces. The male making the biggest impression gets the girl. A gym membership, anyone?
Working out might also help with tip #5 which involves guarding territory. Jealous hummingbirds, alpha wolves, and wild stallions will chase off rivals. Oftentimes simply looking aggressive will deter other pursuers. Male gorillas only have to pound their chests and thump the ground with their huge hands to scare off competition. Hopefully we humans are more civilized and an engagement or wedding ring will take the place of chest thumping.
The male frigate bird would approve of buying a heart-shaped box of chocolates, tip #6. The frigate attracts females by inflating his throat into a gigantic, red, heart-shaped balloon. Females are attracted to the largest throat sac, so I’d recommend picking up the biggest box available. If your valentine isn’t into sweets, how about flowers, a card, or reservations at a fancy restaurant?
Tip #7, to pitch in with chores, is sure to win your valentine over. Male European house wrens build up to 12 nests to attract females. They keep building until a female is happy with the job. Nothing can make the heart pound faster than the surprise of coming home to a clean house or a home-cooked meal.
Tip #8 comes from the luna moth who encourages wearing seductive scents. When the female is ready to mate, she releases pheromones. The male receives them through his antenna and flies straight toward her. Another seductress, the female red-sided garter snake, releases a pheromone that attracts hundreds of males to surround her in a gigantic mating ball. It’s probably best not to overdo, but how about a splash of perfume or cologne?
Tip #9 is to impress your valentine with your persistence and skills. The male bower bird constructs an elaborate nest to draw in a mate. Similarly, the male pufferfish spends days creating symmetrical patterns in the sand. If the female likes his design, she’ll respond by laying her eggs. Are you up for a handmade card or gift?
Tip #10 is to take a lesson from the fireflies. The males cruise by, flying around and flashing their signals to ask for a date. The females wait for just the right pattern, then blink the same signal back.
If you’re still planning your Valentine date—blink, blink, wink, wink—synchronizing like the fireflies might me be the best tip yet. Plan your romantic evening together, and let nature do the rest.