Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Bird with an arched neck

I watch birds - though I'm probably not what's called a bird-watcher - if you know what I mean?  I love to watch the antics, the personalities, the families and behaviour, and I'm fascinated by what certain actions mean and the effect they have.  Most I suppose are instinctive, they're certainly communicative.  The repeated ones you begin to get an idea about, and can predict sometimes when they will happen.

A behaviour that consistently pleases me is when birds, particularly long-necked ones, arch their necks.  It comes out in my sculpture a lot, not necessarily by design, but it is the shape and curve that just make me feel good inside.  It is the association too, of what the bird is doing at the time of arching, it is what this arching of neck signifies.

What pride, elegance and poise can be seen in a Crane, Heron, or Egret - even my over-indulged domestic geese have it too!  I find it irresistable.

The little stone bird ornament I made came about because of this and in particular as a result of watching a bird, similar to a crane, called a Limpkin.  It is so named because it has a strange 'limping' gait.   It is also known as the crying bird - it is shy, and often heard before it is seen, making a loud wail or screaming sound.  Oh, that beautiful neck.

There is a very definite behaviour, called Arched-Neck Display, which Herons and similar birds do, described as an aggressive display of low intensity.  I've seen it as a sort of greeting, progressively intensifying when the male wants to attract a female.  I've seen it too, when birds are standing together, and another bird flies in to join them, the arched neck 'greeting' occurs and neighbouring birds respond by doing the same.


Often the bird is standing erect, tense with the upper part of the neck strongly arched and looking proud and wild.  It can alternative too with a sort of stretching, and I've seen birds during the breeding cycle, in a definite guarding pose, arching in this way too.  At the nest the arched neck display is shown to the incoming bird and it seems to excite the birds, with much billing and preening.

So, here's to long-necked birds and the Arched-Neck Display!


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