The Nature Conservancy

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Love Lessons from Mother Nature

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve scoured animal courtship behavior in search of timeless pickup lines from Nature. Have fun!

"I'll hop into your heart" You might think rabbits don't need reproduction help, but tiny pygmy rabbits do! Partners overseeing a pygmy rabbit recovery effort in Douglas County recently reported good news: this year's survival rate is much higher. These palm-sized bunnies are hopping their way to a brighter future.

"My hearts beat for you" Did you know octopuses have THREE hearts each? The giant Pacific octopus lives in Puget Sound, and when they're in the mood, look out for some tangled tentacles. Check out the Seattle Aquarium's Octopus Week starting Valentine's Day

These round seabirds form long-term pairs and take turns warming their eggs. But don't take child care advice from them! They lay eggs at the tip top branches of giant coastal trees! As more old-growth trees disappear, so do marbled murrelets. See what we're doing about it

“I’m all aquiver over you.” Trumpeter swans mate for life. Courtship behavior involves facing each other, bobbing their heads and quivering their feathers at each other.

“Feel the love vibe!” Surf smelt have developed a highly ritualized spawning behavior. They assemble high in the intertidal zone of a gravelly beach. Several males will align themselves with a ripe female. The female and males will vibrate in unison, causing the release of eggs and sperm.

“Check out my cool dance moves!” Sage-grouse meet on grassy leks, or dance grounds, out in the sagebrush country. Males engage in vigorous dance displays, feathers flying and pendulous air sacs making loud popping noises, to attract the females.

“I’ll battle for you, baby.” Elk engage in display during rutting season, bugling and strutting their stuff. Eager bulls lock horns and seek to establish dominance.

“Let’s link talons!” During courtship, eagles fly high in the sky, link their talons and plummet toward earth, breaking free just before they crash.

“We’ll make a family together.” Snow geese pairs mate for life, and families tend to stick together. An adult pair, that year’s young, and older offspring from the same pair will travel as a cluster within the huge flocks as they make their way from arctic breeding grounds to winter in warmer climates like the Skagit Delta.

Unfortunately, many of these creatures are at risk of disappearing forever because of habitat loss, climate change and other threats. Lend a helping hand today and protect the lands they call home.


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