Today I watched sex in the raw. As I was watching birds in my backyard, I observed a pair of Mourning Doves sitting on a hemlock branch next to each other. it seemed on first blush that there was a purpose for their closeness, so I stayed on them with my binoculars and I was rewarded with a once on a lifetime experience. It quickly became obvious that these two had something special on their minds. Both birds started by severely ruffling their feathers to the point that they looked out of sorts and unkempt. They followed this by hurriedly preening and cleaning themselves as if in anticipation of something happening. Interestingly they actually appeared to be preening and cleaning in a synchronized series of moves as if copying each. Both birds sat on the branch facing in the same direction at about 10 inches apart. After they finished, the male started moving toward his partner, by taking very small steps until he was right next to her. She looked at him and he immediately touched his bill to hers and he appeared to transfer some item of food. After a few seconds of bill touching, the male flew up, mounted the female and with a brief flurry of wings it was all over.
Afterward the female looked quite content but was probably thinking "Oh god now I have to build a nest". The male looked spent, and his head drooped a bit as he tried to compose himself.
Wow, I said to myself this is really interesting ( I was beginning to feel like a voyeur) when a pair of gray squirrels came bounding up the tree and disrupted the scene. Apparently they too were responding to the warmth of Spring.
You just never know what may be happening right in you own backyard.