Tenderness comes in all shapes and sizes: the steadfast caring of an elder friend or relative; the calming of a crying baby; the tender voice and encouraging hug from a friend, during those hard times in life.
And most of us, at some moment in our lives, experience that tender love that brings a deeper meaning to mating.
I’ve quite literally stood in awe when sighting those rare springtime demonstrations of Mother Nature’s feathered ones, publicly displaying tenderness with their pre-mating dance. I don’t believe we humans have cornered the market on Love-bird tenderness.
But when I think of the tenderness of two mate’s love, Laughing Gulls would not readily come to my mind.
I grew up with the Texas Gulf Coast and Galveston Bay as my extended backyard. I’m surprised by the specificity of my post-toddler memories of riding the Galveston-Bolivar ferry; of making beach-side sandcastles, and of taking hand-and-knee-scraped spills when running about the Texas City Dike.
And with all of these childhood memories, I see and hear a constant presence with me: Laughing Gulls. My memories include the sounds of gull noise and in-fighting; the cries of food grabbing, and the raucous vocalizations in their large-group dynamics. But tenderness between two is not what I would express as Laughing Gull behavior.
All that changed with my recent daytrip to the Texas City dike. I watched two Laughing Gulls demonstrate a so-very-tender affection to each other, not followed by mating.
Their bill and chest touching was slow and tender. Neither displayed an act of dominance nor submission.
At this one moment in time, these two Laughing Gulls became an artistic expression of the most-tender love. I hope they bring your own good memories to mind (click-on images to enlarge):
May all of your days be birdy days...