What Does a Vulture Get for Valentine’s Day?

Male cinereous vultures collect sticks to woo their mates.

Hey ladies! Did your special guy woo you with a gift on Valentine’s Day? Such generosity isn’t limited to humans. A lot of guys in the bird world are working hard to win the affections of their ladies as well.

How do they do it? Well, if you were crane, you would be expected to go out dancing. Bird of paradise suitors put on elaborate shows to impress their girls. So do manakins, although they typically require a “wing-man” to pull it off.

Swifts coax their mates with a trip to join the “mile high club.” If you were a bowerbird, you might expect a shiny bottle cap or candy wrapper in your favorite color.

Here at the zoo, the spirit of the holiday is exemplified by Bruno, the male cinereous vulture at the Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit. Every February, he keeps the romance alive in his 10+ year relationship by presenting new sticks to Lurch as they continually update and improve their nest. And these aren’t just any sticks...Bruno shops through dozens and selects only the best for his best gal.

Hopefully you will be so lucky! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Colleen Lynch

Colleen Lynch, M.S., is Lincoln Park Zoo's Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds.


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