It’s the tail end of winter, somewhere in a smart part of town - probably by a river - a swanky restaurant is hosting one of their most important evenings of the year. Only tables for two are available, and the establishment is decorated head to toe with couples.
As the awkward sound of whispered chatter and clinking of cutlery fill the air, lovers can be seen gazing into each others eyes, stroking their beloved’s face, daintily feeding them - and some inebriated diners are even attempting to sing to their partners.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s Valentines day. But who do we have to thank for this gory [errr!] I mean glorious day?
Well, if we’re talking about celebrating this Saints day in a romantic sense, then many say the Father of English Literature, Geoffrey Chaucer, is responsible when he penned the poem, “The Parliament of Fowles”, in 1381. In this poem Chaucer tells how February 14th is the day when all birds pick a mate:
"For this was on Seynt Valentyne’s day, whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
His circle of friends and acquaintances must have been a romantic bunch, as they responded to this literal notion by literally giving gifts to their loved ones on this newly romanticised day.
But it isn’t just humans who romanticise one another, animals do too, and funny enough some of the most affectionate animals are actually birds - and who is king and queen of the sycophants? Why, the Lovebird or course.
The name for lovebirds is well deserved. Mating for life, they’re level of monogamy puts us flakey humans to shame, and if for any reason they’re separated they can become very visibly distressed. And just like our diners in the restaurant, lovebirds also feed one another, groom one another, and even sing to one another.
Showing off a plethora of colour variants, the lovebird is one of the smallest but prettiest parrots to behold. Call me a cynic, but I’d much prefer to spend my valentines day surrounded by these lovers.
image © Daniel Mackie
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Being that the Stag Beetle is active during the hot summer nights, and due to the fact that they’re attracted to bright lights, it has been know for them crash in though an open bedroom window; and being that they’re Britains largest terrestrial insect, which limits them to certain ungainly flight, “crashing” is probably the appropriate term.
Anyone who has ever read one of Terry Pratchett’s fantasy ‘Discworld’ novels will know that the fictional flat Discworld rests upon the backs of four gigantic elephants, who, in turn, spin the world whilst walking on the shell of the enormous Turtle, ‘Great A’Tuin’.