Takes All Sorts

Dunnock singing in the hedge
Dunnock singing in the hedge

We had heavy rain during the night, so we set off down the road towards the bridge over the beck – we wondered how he’d coped with the downpour.
Making our way in that direction, we became aware of birdsong from the hedge on our left. We’d noticed a small brown bird flitting in and out of the leafless branches so, with the help of the chirping, we were reasonably sure where our songster was. But, search as we might we could not pinpoint the location of the sound, nor could we see anything that looked like a bird anywhere in amongst the branches.
We took one further step and a small brown bird flew out not six feet from us. He had been right under our noses, but his brown feathers in the brown of the bare branches had been perfect camouflage.
It was a dunnock, he (or she) of the strange social arrangements.
Depending on the food supply their inter-gender relationship can vary from one to one (male – female), to one female to any number of males or one male to any number of females. DNA tests on dunnock chicks from the same nest often find that they each have a different father.
And we humans thought we invented that.

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