LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Crossbill and a Mystery Bird

Sometimes the fledglings have a difficult time understanding that it's time to grow up a little and get your own food. Our little Red Crossbill is getting a lesson in growing up. He sits on the railing waiting for Mom or Dad to come feed him (I have no idea whether the bird is male or female, so for the sake of convenience, I'll consider the bird a male.)

No one comes to the deck railing, so the little bird flies to the tree nearest the bird feeder. Surely someone will see him there and come to his aid.

In a final attempt to get his parent's attention, the little crossbill flies to the feeder. To his surprise, the parents continue eating and ignore him completely.
His parents leave and he gives the feeder a try. It works! Two goldfinches come to share the feeder with him.




Quickly gaining confidence, the little crossbill decides that two goldfinches are enough. He threatens a third one who flies away.
We still have two pairs of Red Crossbills in our woods. We're hoping for another set of fledglings.


And now, for the mystery bird. We often see this large bird in our trees and at our feeders. However, this is the first time we have ever seen her at the sunflower heart feeder. She really doesn't fit very well. I'll post the identifying photographs on Wednesday.


22 comments:

George said...

What a great series of photos watching the little crossbill learn to feed himself. Birds that age are fascinating to watch.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Carolyn, I have no idea what your big black bird is... Is he hanging upside down?????? ha

The fledgling crossbill and the Goldfinches are gorgeous. We have baby Goldfinch here --and they just squeak all of the time. TOO cute!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

troutbirder said...

growing up...what fun

robin andrea said...

It's so heartening to see that little crossbill figure out that he can feed himself. Ah, now the world really is his oyster (so to speak!).

Interesting black bird. I can't wait to see the identifying photos.

fishing guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fishing guy said...

Carolyn: Neat photos of the neat birds. It sure is hard to see that secrete bird.

Rae said...

It is amazing - nature has perfect timing. Too bad human kids can't be more like this. Quit moochin and get a job. RAE

Cedar ... said...

I like the "tough love" from the bird parents!

Bird Girl said...

Such a hard lesson to watch ;-) But a necessary on that we humans have a hard time with - haha!
Gee..your mystery bird looks very much like a pileated - but I can't imagine one at a seed feeder!

dAwN said...

Hee hee..at the big non fitting bird.

Cute little crossbill...I guess it was timid long enough a few seeds and it wanted feeder to itself..
How fun..
thanks!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

5 of our babes flew off yesterday but one was timid! I shooed him out this morning and away he flew!
I posted a pic taken before I shooed him or her?
I think your mystery looks like my red-winged blackbird. I love mine!

Sam said...

The picture of the crossbill scaring away the finch is so funny! Birds are interesting little creatures. Do you ever see any birds of prey? Even in New York, we see hawks sometimes. I suspect it's due to habitat destruction - they're being forced closer and closer to us.

Ruth said...

You have the most interesting feeder action. Will have to check in for more on the mystery bird.

Shellmo said...

So cute that you captured that baby crossbill getting brave enough to feed himself! And that is a mighty big black bird on your feeder - not sure what he is - a crow? Pileated woodpecker? Count dracula????

Rudee said...

I'd love to come sit on your property, spin my yarn and learn about all the creatures you entice your way. I always enjoy your photos.

KB said...

I love the series about the crossbill fledgling. A parent has to be tough to teach their young the important lessons!

We find that crow and Hairy Woodpecker fledglings make such a ruckus asking their parents to feed them that they can wake us up from a sound sleep! And, it goes on until fall. Those parents aren't as tough as the crossbill parents.

Abe Lincoln said...

It is a woodpecker. I can't see enough to tell you which one but I am guessing it is a woodpecker. I don't think a crow would touch the sunflower hearts but the woodpeckers love them.

Voices from the past > http://bing-it.blogspot.com/

Cheryl said...

How quickly they learn......and your story line is wonderful....

Love the photograph of the mystery bird......

jayedized said...

That little crossbill sitting there waiting and wishing ... that is the cutest accounting of separation anxiety and crossbill's first step at the feeder - and what gorgeous goldfinch! The mystery bird... what a neat shot! I think I know. (I never knew how to tell the difference until a few weeks ago .. : -)

Tina said...

Ahh he/she is a cutie..and it was great that you caught this series of pictures to show he can thrive on his own..
I am so glad that they have stayed on your property and nested..how exciting.

...and I guess since you have shown a pileated wp before eating from your feeders..(very jealous here) that maybe this is him/her again!!

NCmountainwoman said...

Ah, dear readers...there's just no fooling you anymore. It was intentionally a photograph with no identifying marks and yet several of you came up with the correct answer. Kudos all around!

Robin - I always love it when the little fledglings finally figure out those two things: 1) No one is going to feed you anymore, and 2) You can actually do it for yourself. As with humans, it's harder for some than for others. I once saw a little titmouse screaming in the tree for more than 15 minutes before realizing it wasn't going to happen.

Sam - Yes, we do see birds of prey. We have a little Sharpie that quiets our birdfeeders often. And in our driving through the mountains we see lots of hawks and Peregrines.

KB - Yes, we have also observed that the Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers seem to feed their fledglings far longer than the other woodpeckers. In fact, it's sometimes difficult to determine who is the parent and who is the fledgling.

Tina - The local birding community is still amazed that the Red Crossbills have remained. I suspect the other pair are nesting as well.

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

Cute story, Carolyn! I love the picture with the extra goldfinch being scared away...looks like it's falling. Poor little crossbil!