With patience and keen observation this spring, you may be able to spot a pair of humans engaging in an unusual ritual in the park. You might observe one of them wearing a garment that resembles a snowy egret while the other is dressed like a penguin. Sometimes they’re both dressed like snowy egrets. Sometimes they’re both dressed like penguins.
This behavior has been observed in several kinds of humans, of all different sizes, but its purpose is not fully understood. It’s believed to be related to courtship; however, it does not seem standard, as many humans choose not to engage in this ritual at all.
What we do know is that when it occurs there are often tasty cake morsels left scattered on the ground nearby for any passing birds.
Illustration: © Fiona Carswell, 2021.