Open Spaces: Go Wild for Wildlife This Valentine's Day

Go Wild for Wildlife This Valentine's Day

By Susan Morse, USFWS

Going all out for your honey on Valentine’s Day?

Prepare to be outdone. When it comes to over-the-top courtship displays, we humans are kinda tame. There’s just no competing with love in the wild.

chickenMale Attwater’s prairie chicken inflate air sacks on their necks and make a 'booming' sound when they want to attract a female. (Photo: George Lavendowski/USFWS)

Want proof? Watch this!

But the sage grouse, Attwater’s prairie chicken and Laysan albatrosses in the video don’t have a lock on showy wildlife mating rituals.

American woodcocks — aka timberdoodles — execute spiraling sky dives at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine, Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey and other refuges. Look for their displays starting at the end of March. See and hear a courting woodcock here.

Beginning in early April, grey tree frogs inflate their vocal pouches like balloons and sing at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri, White River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas and elsewhere.
See and hear a grey tree frog calling here. You can find plenty of other examples.

National wildlife refuges are great places to see the noisy, colorful things many animals do to woo their mates.

Can't get enough? Find more fervor here.

A word of advice: You know those warning notes that say, “Don’t try this at home”? Enough said. Some behaviors just don’t play as well out of their natural habitat.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Last updated: June 21, 2012