I'm working on the mower in the front yard. It's not going well. High in the spruce trees, a bird is chittering his spring mating call. In the distance, a competing male answers him. They go at it for a good thirty minutes before I decide it's time for a talk. I scan the trees until his silouette is in focus against the mountain.
Dude. She's not even hearing you.
No answer, but no song, either. He's listening.
Right now she's partying with some biker scumbird,exploring the limits of her wildness while you twitter here in my tree.
He hops down a branch, leans forward.
Oh, don't worry, He'll dump her at some point and she'll rebound toward someone more traditional; someone sweeter and committed, like you. It won't be your song that attracts her then, though. It'll be your timing and location. Have a nesting site or two picked out, and show her you're willing to work.
He puffed his chest a bit.
That's as good as it'll get, though.
He cocked his head.
Once her eggs are fertile, you become a tool; an accessory. You're dropped in the pecking order. Your value is the worms you dig. And when the chicks fly, the relationship is over.
The tree was silent.
Then the bird in the distance called. No response from our end.
Now hold on. I'm not saying quitting is an option. You sing because that's what you are. Your responsibility is to build the boldest and brightest song; a song that will attract a mate, but also a song that will define a legacy, a song that will represent your species, a song that will give your kind a better chance to survive. I know that's a lot to ask. I know this is a tiny piece of a large forest, and your contribution seems miniscule, but trust me on this; your effort matters! It does. So sing. Boldly and brightly.