Partridge, and Starling most perfectly imitated. And at what other time does he go through those extraordinary, what one might call, gestures to the female; he does all he can to speak? At times, when he twists his neck round and turns his head upward, he appears to be imploring heaven to help him.
I could mention many similar cases, but these, I think, are sufficient to prove that the whole powers of the bird's body and mind are concentrated solely on the possession of a female. This being so, it appears to me to be highly improbable that this action can in any way refer directly to the construction of the nest.
For a minute let us consider it simply expressive in practical form of a mind overburdened with the mental image of a nest and all that pertains to its construction, and that it is in no way associated with any sexual passion. Assuming this, then, why do we not find the same action in the female? Assuredly to her the nest must mean as much, if not more, than to the male; and if this was only an expression of delight on the part of the male at the return of the breeding season, it is only reasonable to suppose that we should find the same or some similar action in the female. But the fact is clear to my mind that in no case have I found any similar action in the female. I admit my observations are few, and can in no way be thought of as anything in the nature of proof; but, taken in conjunction with Mr. Selous' own observations, I think it will be admitted there is reasonable basis upon which his theory is raised.