Day 37 Exercise No 3 Getting desperate – wrestle with the bedclothes.
Although the material covering Unring’s back may seem to be the product of random tossing around of nest material it is, interestingly, the more extreme end of a recurring behavioral pattern. On several occasions, whilst sitting tightly on the eggs, both KL and Unring have been seen to take up wisps of nesting material and turning their heads, gently strew it over their own backs. This is different to their usual regular activity of re-arranging the sticks and other nest material within reach to build up the sides and bowl of the nest and does not entail preening. It seems to have no particular plan or purpose as usually the material is too sparse for either warmth or camouflage and falls straight off. However, in this picture Unring seemed to take this gentle activity up a level and flicked these bits with vigor over his back and sides. Behaviors that are out of context with the activity in hand (in this case incubation) are usually labelled ‘displacement activities’, many of which need a complex set of variables to trigger them. For Unring;s human counterparts ‘Pacing the corridor’ is perhaps comparable!