The Museum’s ‘Object of the Month’ provides an opportunity to explore interesting and unusual objects from our stores.
In celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month, February’s object of the month looks into the queer aspects of the natural history collection. Same-sex pair bonding has been observed between individuals of two closely related species, such as different species of geese, and between members of the same species.
Same-sex courtship and mating behaviour also have been observed in many bird species including blue tits and pigeons.
Female blue tits have also been recorded sharing a nest and co-operating to raise their chicks, without male input.
Occasionally, both members of a female-female nesting pair will be supported and fed by the same male.
In general, same-sex reproductive behaviours are more common between males than females, and are seen more often in species where males mate with multiple females than in species that form breeding pairs. These behaviours are also more common when males are less involved in raising the chicks, both in species that pair-bond and species that don’t. However, in species with breeding pairs and when males provide most parental care, same-sex behaviour is highest between females.
See even more of the natural history collection through a queer lens in the Museum throughout February.