My project for this class is based on the existence of and the relationships within same-sex bird pairs. My inspiration for this came from the fact that I am a member of the LGBTQ community, and that no one else in class was doing something similar to me. I wondered if birds formed same-sex pairs at all, and, if they did, for what reasons. I wondered how they would raise their offspring, and how they would even have babies if both birds in a couple are the same sex. I also wondered if the relationship of a same-sex bird couple had any emotional weight, if the relationship was purely for the sake of raising young, or finding food, or simply because the two birds had bonded. To complete my project, I had to complete a visual portion (art in some medium) and a research essay portion. The visual part I knew would be easy, but the research part would be the biggest challenge. I had a lot to think about.
Firstly, I brainstormed on the visual part of my project. I decided to create a colored pencil drawing—since I’m better with pencil than any other medium—involving two crows, an homage to the class name and topic. The crows in my drawing would be facing each other with their beaks touching. The crows would be rainbow-colored, to symbolize the same-sex bonds birds can make. My drawing idea done, I gathered my materials and started work on the research part of my project.
Through some of the research I’ve done so far for my essay, I’ve found out that many species of birds display homosexual behaviors, so that answered my question as to whether same-sex bird pairs could even exist. I’ve also learned that homosexual bird pairs, be they male-male or female-female, are just as capable of raising healthy young as heterosexual bird pairs. Female same-sex pairs are usually capable of raising about twice as many young as heterosexual pairs, because two females will lay more total eggs in a nest than one female will. Another fact I learned is that birds less devoted to parenting engage in more homosexual behavior. Though there is still much to read and write, I have gathered a good number of resources for my essay.
Overall, learning about homosexuality in birds has been an interesting and satisfying endeavor for me. I have been reassured and comforted by the fact that homosexuality exists in many animals. I have realized what a complex place the animal world is, and I have also learned that there is quite a bit of research on animal homosexuality already discovered, and that there is so much more out there. It has been a humbling and eye-opening experience, and one that I will carry with me for a long time to come.