Sunday, December 12

wooing jackdaw

All these different forms of self-presentation are addressed by the courting male always to one special female. But how does she know that the whole act is being performed for her benefit? This is all explained by the "language of the eyes," which Byron, in "Don Juan" calls:

The answer eloquent where the soul shines,
And darts in one quick glance a long reply.

As he makes his proposals, the male glances continually towards his love but ceases his efforts immediately if she chances to fly away; this however she is not likely to do if she is interested in her admirer.

Remarkable and exceedingly comical is the difference in eloquence between the eye-play of the wooing male and that of the courted female: the male jackdaw casts glowing glances straight into his loved one's eyes, while she apparently turns her eyes in all directions other than that of her ardent suitor. In reality, of course, she is watching him all the time, and her quick glances of a fraction of a second are quite long enough to make her realize that all his antics are calculated to inspire her admiration; long enough to let "him" know that "she" knows.

-- Konrad Z. Lorenz King Solomon's Ring