Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Who Says Birds Don't Have Personality?

Pale Male ponders the nest.
When it comes to personality there are few who have followed Pale Male's activities for any amount of time who would dispute he has personality. In fact he has so much personality it soars right up there into charisma.
But what about other birds and personality?
Many agree that personality is a determinant of behavior.
Okay, but just what does personality boil down to? Webster's says that personality is qualities or traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a specific individual.
Another says, consistent behavior patterns and intrapersonal processes originating in the individual.

Now when a Sandhill Crane becomes aware of a human that might be getting a little close, they give the human a very alert stare. In the Crane above he gave the alert stare each time but not before grabbing a piece of marsh grass in his mouth as part of his staring behavior. It was consistent.

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber
What about the independent Frick Duckling who spends much time by himself on the float in the Model Boat Pond?

Then there is Tristan's signature stance. All hawks will tuck a foot a one time or another but Tristan if perched for any length of time does it at least 90% of the time.

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber

What about the loquacious Blue Jay that dropped by to instruct Eleanor Tauber one day in Central Park. Seldom does a single Blue Jay scold without out all the others in the neighborhood coming by to do the same. Not this time, this bird was making an individual choice and whatever the choice was, the other Blue Jays found no reason to do the same.

Eldest was infused with curiosity that was satisfied by LOOKING. Whether it was staring at a group.

Staring up a pipe...

Or staring at a single photographer.

Now Emmie, loves a good game of peek a boo or hide and seek. He'll g0 to great lengths to get people to play.

Oh yes, the tremendously grumpy Tree Sparrow, mustn't leave him out. While all the other Tree Sparrows were busying themselves, foraging incessantly to feed themselves or their offspring, this individual was so cranky with the other birds and so cranky himself, that he sat for fifteen minutes on this popular perch, actively not letting others use it, nor eating the bug in his beak himself.

Ah, Tail-biter, this years Divine Eyass with a glint of the devil in her eye, who cannot, absolutely cannot resist biting Dad in the tail or the wing tip.

Last but not least, the Double Crested Cormorant at the Model Boat Pond who, though all the other Cormorants where diving, fishing, diving fishing, this individual popped out of the Model Boat Pond and stared for a good twenty minutes while I took photographs.
They all have personality in my book.
Donegal Browne

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