Keeping close to cover

Dunnocks are the very definition of skulking. They often keep low and rarely go far from cover. This time of year, though, is different, as they emerge from scrub, brambles and hedges to declare their territory and look for a mate.

Dunnock - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Here’s one making a proclamation, like a town crier shouting what sounds like “Oh yeah, Oh yeah!” but is actually “Oyez! Oyez!” That means “Hear ye! Hear ye!” in Anglo-Norman. It certainly wants to be heard, and if another male comes close there may be a chase.

Dunnocks have an exotic sex life, which sometimes consists of the female having multiple male partners with eggs and chicks in the same brood having different fathers. That sometimes happens with human twins, where twins have different dads. It’s called heteropaternal superfecundation, which should surely be the name of a song like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or maybe I’ve just been listening to too many musicals lately.

You can take that with a pinch of salt or a spoonful of sugar, whichever you prefer on your porridge.

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