The Season of Love

What better topic to highlight for this particular blog post … with Valentine’s Day fast approaching us.  🙂

There’s a lot we humans can learn about courtship, romance, and appreciating the object of our affection … and working on making that love last throughout the years.

It all starts so sudden – as the animals go about their everyday rituals – all very routine … then one day something has changed.  There’s an awareness of an attraction to another one of its kind.

That moment of discovery for these 2 juvenile moose - Denali National Park, Alaska

That moment of discovery for these 2 juvenile moose – Denali National Park, Alaska

For humans, this is usually the point where the women start making themselves more beautiful by actively prepping themselves for the occasion  :-).  However, in the animal world, nature takes care of that for us and in a strange role reversal, the males are the ones getting all decked out.

Anhinga in mating colors - Everglades National Park, Florida

Anhinga in mating colors – Everglades National Park, Florida

Even the cattle egret get in on the act - Joe Overstreet Landing, Lake Kissimmee, Florida

Even the cattle egret get in on the act – Joe Overstreet Landing, Lake Kissimmee, Florida

Then the courtship rituals begin … so natural, predictable, and beautifully executed.

A shout out to all the single ladies by this handsome green heron - Everglades National Park, Florida

A shout out to all the single ladies by this handsome green heron – Everglades National Park, Florida

Then the seductive dance begins as the green heron shows off for the female - Everglades National Park, Florida

Then the seductive dance begins as the green heron shows off for the female – Everglades National Park, Florida

He can hardly contain his excitement, as he gets all fluffed up in anticipation - Everglades National Park, Florida

He can hardly contain his excitement, as he gets all fluffed up in anticipation – Everglades National Park, Florida

Some show off for the females attention by swooning and dancing, others shake their tail feathers in an attempt to say … Hey, look at me! … Choose me!

Great white egret proudly displaying its plumage to all - Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

Great white egret proudly displaying its plumage to all – Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

"I'm in the mood for love" proclaims this gorgeous egret - Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

“I’m in the mood for love” proclaims this gorgeous egret – Gatorland, Orlando, Florida

Some simply try to mesmerize their potential mate in a dazzling display of magnificent beauty and magnitude.

Peacock proudly displays what his mama gave him - Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Florida

Peacock proudly displays what his mama gave him – Crandon Park, Key Biscayne, Florida

Ultimately, that moment of truth arrives – will she, or will she not?  The female finally decides if the male is worthy of her time and affection.  Sorry, guys, but it is the female in nature that decides.  🙂

As she accepts his offer of courtship, then the real romance begins for this pair of terns - Green Cay Wetlands, Boynton Beach, Florida

As she accepts his offer of courtship, then the real romance begins for this pair of terns – Green Cay Wetlands, Boynton Beach, Florida

She accepted!  She loves me!  Makes a boy feel so proud!

Male great blue egret struts his stuff proudly - Viera Wetlands, Viera, Florida

Male great blue egret struts his stuff proudly – Viera Wetlands, Viera, Florida

They then begin building a life together … as their day revolves around their newfound love, and the result of it  🙂

Proud great blue heron couple preparing for their new family - Viera Wetlands, Viera, Florida

Proud great blue heron couple preparing for their new family – Viera Wetlands, Viera, Florida

Bald eagle returns to the nest with an offering of another stick to make their nest foundation a solid one - Kenansville, Florida

Bald eagle returns to the nest with an offering of another stick to make their nest foundation a solid one – Kenansville, Florida

Of course, other animals show their playfulness at this time in their lives as well, as they undergo their own version of discovery, courtship, and romance as well.

Sub-adult coastal brown bears discover each other - Katmai National Park, Alaska

Sub-adult coastal brown bears discover each other – Katmai National Park, Alaska

They begin to play as part of their courtship - Katmai National Park, Alaska

They begin to play as part of their courtship – Katmai National Park, Alaska

Ultimately, it gets a bit more serious, of course, after the female consents to the union

Ultimately, it gets a bit more serious, of course, after the female consents to the union – Katmai National Park, Alaska

Wildlife tends to appreciate and nurture the formed union by expressing attentiveness and teamwork cooperation in life.

"Let me whisper sweet nothings in your ear" - actually this red fox has just brought dinner home for its mate, which they will shortly take home to their den - Denali National Park, Alaska

“Let me whisper sweet nothings in your ear” – actually this red fox has just brought dinner home for its mate, which they will shortly take home to their den – Denali National Park, Alaska

Of course, in all species of wildlife, and even humans, the hardest part of love is finding a way to make it last.  Now some wildlife species mate for life, some just for a season, and some just for the moment.  Some species will even mate several different partners in a breeding season … OK, we won’t go into the commonalities of humans at this point … this season of love should be full of fun and playfulness …

Coastal brown bear feeling playful and joyous rolling around in the lush green grasses of Katmai National park, Alaska

Coastal brown bear feeling playful and joyous rolling around in the lush green grasses of Katmai National park, Alaska

… and defending one’s turf …

Barred owl couple stands untied in their position - Dinner Island Ranch WMA, Hendry County, Florida

Barred owl couple stands untied in their position – Dinner Island Ranch WMA, Hendry County, Florida

Burrowing owl protects its burrow from other owls or predators - Brian Piccolo Park, Cooper City, Florida

Burrowing owl protects its burrow from other owls or predators – Brian Piccolo Park, Cooper City, Florida

… but overall should leave you feeling on top of the world … flying high!

Bee Couple flying high over the Balloon Fiesta Park at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bee Couple flying high over the Balloon Fiesta Park at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico

So, there you have it … take that chance, open your mind and your heart – to someone or something.  Life is what you make it.

Tom readies for a tandem paraglide jump - a leap of faith, if you will :-) - Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, Alaska

Tom readies for a tandem paraglide jump – a leap of faith, if you will 🙂 – Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, Alaska

Whoa ... what a feeling!

Whoa … what a feeling!

Don't ever look at life in just one way ... use your imagination.

Don’t ever look at life in just one way … use your imagination.

But most of all … appreciate what you have!  Take cues from the nature which surrounds us.

- Letchworth State Park, New York

– Letchworth State Park, New York

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY everyone!!!

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