During the month of May at the Biodôme, it’s the season for love. The birds in the North American ecosystems are in reproduction phase. For example, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, many ducks are performing their courtship displays: it’s happening with the guillemots, the goldeneyes, the eiders and the long-tailed ducks.
Showing off their colors
The males have abandoned their dull winter colors to display some livelier shades, because if you want to pass on your genes to the next generation you have to be seductive. The male birds dance in front of the females, puff up their chests, exhibit their colors by stretching out their wings… For the gulls and terns, conquests take place directly on the rocks.
Who’s got the best genes?
Certain males are unhappy with the fact that women are not interested in them. When an individual who is attractive comes too close to a new couple, he’s likely to get into trouble, even to the point of getting a good peck! Jealousy? Possibly, but one thing’s for certain: the unpopular male can hang on to his hopes. By being aggressive, he shows the females that he’s strong and has good genes.
Making a nest
Next comes the choice of a nesting site, then the building of the nest. This is when you see the birds walking around with twigs or moss in their beaks. In the case of shorebirds or cliff nesters (subpolar ecosystem of the Labrador Coast and Gulf of St. Lawrence ecosystem), it’s easy: they’re right there in front of us. But for many little birds – the warblers of the Laurentian maple forest, for example – you have to keep a very close eye on them. Sometimes that’s difficult, but if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot the location of a nest.
The arrival of chicks
Then come the births and the feeding of the chicks. You can see the parents searching for food, regurgitating in the little ones’ beaks, protecting them under their wings… Maybe you’ll get the chance to see a chick fly for the first time, who knows. It’s easy to see the penguins, the guillemots, the terns and the gulls build their nest and raise their young.
The turtles come out of their bowls
Beginning in late April, painted turtles and wood turtles arrive in the Laurentian maple forest. Maybe there’s nothing very spectacular about that, but you have to be aware that our turtles haven’t hibernated in the muddy bottom of ponds as they would in nature, rather in a bowl of water placed in an immense refrigerator. Want to know more about it? Feel free to ask our animators questions. In May at the Biodôme there’s lots of action. Bring your binoculars, your camera, and pick up a copy of the guide. Nature’s waiting!