Second Saturdays: Do That Birdie Boogie

This Second Saturdays we got down with our bird selves and danced like birds!  Birds don’t just sing- they dance too!  Bird courtship displays can be simple or very complicated.  But either way, they certainly know their way around the dance floor!

Visitors were lead in seven different bird courtship dances by our special guest dinosaur Tiana Rex!  If you’re wondering why a dinosaur was at a bird event, dinosaurs are the ancestors of the modern bird!  Our dino guest was thrilled to join us and teach us a few bird moves!

If you’re interested in learning how to dance like a bird, here’s a list of our dances and some simple instructions to go along with them!

Bird: The Blue-footed Booby (Blue-footed Boobys have bright blue feet!  The birds keep their feet nice and bright by eating a lot of food.  Future parents want their mates to be good at catching food to feed their babies, so the bright feet are very important because they’re a sign of good survival skills!)
Dance steps: Slowly pick up your right foot, leg straight.  Put it down and switch feet.  Repeat!

Bird: The Sandhill Crane (Sandhill Cranes may look graceful, but when they perform courtship dances they tend to thrash around!)
Dance Steps: Jump as high as you can and flap your arms! Randomly run around with your arms out and bob your head.  Repeat!

Bird: The Red-capped Manakin (These birds are the smooooooth dancers of the bird world!  They kind of look like they’re doing the moonwalk!  They move much faster than humans or T-rexes can.  By scooting their feet back and footh on branches extremely fast, they look like they’re sliding!)
Dance Steps: Turn to your side and stick out your bum!  Shift your weight from foot to foot and move backwards while doing that.  Here’s a tip: Start out slowly, then speed up!

Bird: Andean Flamingos (These pretty in pink birds dance in flocks.  It looks really simple, but they have to be coordinated enough not to bump into each other while tightly packed together- they dance with their heads held high in the air!)
Dance steps: Stand up straight with your head held high!  Take tiny steps in your own tiny circle.  Flick your head to look to the left, then look right, then left, then right.  Here’s a tip: Practice separately before you try doing it in a group.

Bird: The Superb Bird-of-Paradise (These birds have the looks and the moves!  They have big colorful feathers and they dance to show them off.  The Superb Bird-of-Paradise raises its long feathers around its neck to make a wide, black backdrop for him.  His blue eyes and throat feathers stand out against the black. He’ll hop around the female, making clicking sounds to impress her.
Dance steps: Pick a partner to dance around.  Hold out your arms and pretend that they’re long neck feathers.  Jump up and down, clicking your tongue every time you land!  Move side to side as you hop around your partner.

Bird: Western and Clark’s Grebes (These two birds are similar to each other and have the same courtship dance.  They line up side by side on a lake and paddle their feet so fast that they actually run on top of the water!
Dance steps: Line up pairs, stand up tall, and hold your arms out behind you. Hold that pose and run!

Bird: The Magnificent Riflebird (Rifelbirds hold their black wings out to show off their flight feathers, that look like really wide fans.  They move their heads back and forth behind their wings to highlight their brightly-colored neck feathers!)
Dance steps: Make a circle with your arms above your head and bounce with your knees a little to the count of 1-2-3-4.  Hide your head behind one arm for 2 counts, then switch it and hide it behind your other arm for the remaining 2 counts.  Repeat!


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