It’s that time of year again and birds are flying north in anticipation of summer romance. Not everybody will find love this season so 10,000 Birds have started a special initiative to help birds to shape up and become the best that they can be.

We all get a kick from seeing a fine example of a male bird, adorned in his breeding finery, singing his own praises from on high, but spare a thought for the reserved and retiring birds for whom such self-promotion and self-adulation would be inconceivable. For limelight shunners such as these who prefer to shrink back into the shadows, finding a mate is an unlikely dream.

Let’s face it, we could all do with a little objective feedback when it comes to image and presentation in an attempt to attract the opposite sex and find our ‘happily ever after’. There are makeover programmes, cosmetics and figure enhancing support garments for those of us humans that need a little extra help, but where do birds turn when they need advice and guidance on the rutted road to ‘bird love’?

The Management at 10,000 Birds spotted a niche market and asked Redgannet to set up stall in Central Park to act as an Agony Aunt under the banner, 10,000 Quails. He was initially sceptical about finding anything shy and withdrawn in New York, but was surprised to find that even here there were issues and insecurities that needed to be addressed.

The first caller at the stall, set up near the feeder station in The Ramble, was a first year  Northern Cardinal named Bob (not his real name).

Bob’s problem;

This is my first spring and the thought of having to find a female and to mate with her makes me feel very awkward. Since last autumn when it occurred to me that this moment was fast approaching, I have been unable to stop blushing. The more I blush, the more embarrassed I get when a female approaches, so I blush even more! I am worried about appearing very silly and inexperienced.

10,000 Quails’ reply;

Bob, Bob, Bob, you are experiencing a problem shared with nearly all other males when we first started out in the dating game. For my own part, interactions with the fairer sex were always accompanied by spine-melting terror and warm, wet legs. My solution was to purchase a very smart pair of shoes and pretend to be admiring them so that I could avoid having to make eye contact with the female.


Raymond the White-throated Sparrow called across from the top of the rock where he was taking advantage of the free handouts from the central park community feeders.

Raymond’s problem;

Hey you!

Yeah you with the problems!

When I meet the right girl, I want to make a good impression on our first date. Should I order for her, or would that look too pushy?

10,000 Quails’ reply;

If I may be so bold Raymond, your table manners need a little polishing before we worry about menu etiquette. Remember not to shout with your mouth full and try not to spray your food around the table while you eat. Let’s get as far as the second date before taking all of her independence.


 Swampy (his real name) perched with an area of open space downwind from him.

Swampy’s problem;

The ladies find me quite attractive from a distance, but when they get close up they suddenly veer off and fly away. Can you help please?

10,000 Quails’ reply:

Ah yes indeed Swampy, this is another issue where I am able to call on personal experience to help you. I shall pass on these wise words that my dear, demented mother frequently repeated to me as she sniffed the air on my return from a day in the swamp. “What’s that smell? Is that you? What have you been rolling in? Get back outside and hose yourself down before coming in the house”. 


Bob (not his real name) came back for a follow up question;

Bob’s other problem;

I have been admiring Pale Male’s magnificent erection and I am worried that my humble offering may look inadequate in comparison. There is this girl that I like and I don’t know if she will be impressed by my attempts behind the maintenance sheds.

10,000 Quails’ reply;

Is this her picture? Oh wow Bob, she really is gorgeous, no wonder you blush! 

But I must agree that your nest-building efforts do look a little paltry by comparison. Pale Male really does seem to have it all doesn’t he? Location, location, location.

Remember though that Pale Male has been building that structure on 5th Ave for many years and has had to change the interior decoration and soft furnishings almost as many times with each new female. Ask yourself how such a high profile, top-of-the-food-chain kind of guy is unable to keep a long term relationship going. Why do you think the ladies desert him for the cold months?  Rely on your own strengths and consider what is really important to both of you. Don’t compare yourself to someone who obviously has underlying, unacknowledged issues of his own. 


If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this post, more information can be found by linking to the dedicated help address or you could visit one of the booths attended by the 10,000 Quails’ volunteer councillors.

Many of our volunteer councillors have already progressed from their teenage years, some successfully.


A fish may love a bird, but where would they live?

-Drew Barrymore

Bird Love Week is seven days of exploration of avian amore here on 10,000 Birds from April 22-28. We love birds, and the topic of birds loving other birds and in the process making more birds is a fascinating one we know you will enjoy. Mike, Corey, and a bevy of Beat Writers have been working on this one for awhile as the perfect expression of our love of all things avian. To see all of our Bird Love Week posts, just click here. But be warned – Bird Love Week is neither for the faint of heart nor for the permanently prudish – you may end up with images that you never imagined seared onto your brain.


Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.