A classic dating strategy, widely used by male’s eager for close physical contact during the date, is the horror movie rendezvous. Gripped by fear, in a moment of panic, the female happily sinks into the big strong protective arms of her brave companion.
Birds also use scary movie playbook
Turns out humans are not the only organism to use the scary movie playbook. Researchers in Australia have documented the fear mongering antics of splendid fairy-wrens.
The little male bird grabs the female birds’ attention by scaring the bajeebas out of her in his own Hollywood thriller. The love call, includes a few bars of the butcherbird cry.
Since butcherbirds eat fairy-wrens for breakfast, a female bird is likely to sit up and pay attention to utterances from a butcherbird.
Flirting with fear
So the love song uses fear as the starting point of flirtation. Females will definitely glance in the direction of the male.
One glance may be all that it takes to fall in love. Fairy-wren females apparently often respond to the more attractive males with appropriate songs.
“Fear dating” in the human world
Seems to work quite well for fairy-wrens might be a little more difficult for human males.
Most human girls are smart enough to run in the opposite direction from fearful noises but being wrapped in big strong safe arms when watching a freaky film – that can feel pretty good.Danger may enhance communication: predator calls alert females to male displays. Behavioral Ecology, 2010; 21 (6): 1360. E. I. Greig, S. Pruett-Jones.
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