My husband and I recently built a home in Hawaii. Well, rather, he built it, and I shopped for the decorative items, such as new furniture, curtains, light fixtures and paint color.
That’s not how it works in the bird world, specifically Red-footed boobies. Every February, when it comes time to build a nest for the egg the female will lay, the male flies off to do some shopping. His favorite store seems to be the northeastern side of the point at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. He pecks at a stick or two, like I sift through paint chips at Home Depot. He lifts one or two up, looking for just the right twig. Sometimes He even snags a branch that’s still attached to a bush; when that happens, he tugs and tugs before finally giving up. For me, that’s the equivalent of driving to Home Depot again and again, hoping the backordered light fixture I selected for our laundry room finally arrived, only to settle for my second favorite when I find out my first choice has been discontinued. When the male seabird finds one that he can actually lift, he heads back to the nest site, but his selected adornment for the house doesn’t always make it. If he was feeling ambitious, or, perhaps, greedy, he hoists a branch the size of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree that weighs more than he does. Those he drops in mid-flight.
Eventually, though, enough twigs make it back to the nest site and to his patient mate who puts the nest together. In the world red-footed boobies, the females are the craftsmen. He shops; she builds. I am glad I am not a red-footed booby. Although I would like to fly.