Until about two months ago, I had no idea that birds have sex. Seriously. It took a friend of mine describing her frisky birds' behavior at home:
"I swear, every time Chris comes in the room, the birds start doing' it."
"Doing what?" I ask.
"Doin' it. You know, having sex."
The only other time I've been that shocked is when I found out that this guy's
name (pictured on the right) was "Rosco P. Coltrane," not "Rosco Peacotrain." This was revealed to me in my twenties, and I'm still a bit blown away by it.
I wasn't shocked about bird-sex talk. It takes a lot more than that to make me uncomfortable. It was the fact that she was implying birds do it. I mean, actually do it.
Until this moment, I figured birds kind of had that fish thing going on. The lady bird squeezed out an egg somewhere, and the dude bird came along and sat on it, doing his thing- whatever that thing is- on it, to make the egg turn into a baby bird. This is seriously what I thought.
I had seen pigeons with their little heads jerking back and forth (ok- now writing that did make me all of a sudden feel a little uncomfortable, now that we're on the subject- but I assure you, no pun was intended)- anyway, their heads were darting about and they seemed to be in pursuit of love. You know. Dancing around in little circles and stalking lady pigeons who seemed otherwise uninterested. I just thought they were being, I don't know- romantic?
I wanted to know more about this bird sex business, but was afraid to google it. "Teacher googles images of bird porn- Loses job." That's the headline I saw. Luckily, I didn't need to search the web for it. It came to me.
I couldn't believe it. How had I gotten to be almost 38 years old and not known that birds do it? Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. Did I think those lyrics were just someone's funny business?
I took it upon myself to do a little research. I'm not sure what wigged me out more- the fact that most birds just have these, I don't know, little bird vagina things (both the males and females) and they just essentially kind of put them together and stuff gets passed from one to the other, or that some birds actually have penises. Bird penises! These would be your swans, ducks, geese, and ostriches. Grody.
All of a sudden I found myself a little uneasy when going out to take my dog on a walk. A cardinal hopped down from a tree, cocked its head to the side, eyeballed me, took three hops across the sidewalk, and flew off. I know what you've been doing, I thought. You're a dirty, dirty bird. They didn't seem so innocent anymore. Their tweets and calls appeared to be the equivalent of an after-sex smoke seen in the movies. I needed to plug my ears.
When I really thought about it, I realized I had no idea how bees did it either. Searched that, too: Queen bee does it a bunch with dude bees. The dude bee sticks is business in the lady bee's business and, becomes paralyzed, falls backwards, and dies. The article I read actually referred to bee sperm and bee vaginas and I was all, "What?!" I felt okay entering "bee mating" into the search bar, but "bee vagina" is taking it a little far. Plus, I just don't think I'm ready for that kind of image. Some things you just can't un-see.
I now know how birds do it. I get that bees do it. Perhaps days, weeks, or years from now, I'll be brave enough to find out how fleas do it. What about snakes? Dolphins? Sea urchin?
Life seemed a whole lot easier when all I had to do was sit around and watch Rosco Peacotrain and listen for the sound of the baby-carrying storks flying overhead.