LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reluctant Fledgling

Our Red-bellied Woodpecker pair had one fledgling this year. They have been feeding the "little one" for weeks now, although the fledgling is almost the same size as the parents. One or both of the parents try to coax the baby to the suet feeder. Nothing doing. The bird will sit there, sometimes yelling, but making no attempt to fly to the suet.


The parent eventually brings food to the baby. I noticed that recently the parents are beginning to land below the fledgling rather than above. I wonder if this is another step in trying to end the feedings.

The little one eats a lot now, so there are many trips from the suet to feed the baby.


I suspect that in a few days the parents may have to start the "tough love" method of parenting. This fledgling gives no indication of wanting to obtain food for himself.


We'll keep watching, but I will be very surprised if the parents continue to feed this big baby much longer. Heck, I'll bet he doesn't make his bed either.

26 comments:

lmb said...

I've never commented on a blog before, but I have to tell you how much I enjoy yours. Being from South Georgia, my family always vacationed in the the North Carolina mountains every summer for 3 weeks. My dad passed away in 03 and my mom is in a nursing home...but they loved the mountains and left me with that same love. I can't wait to smell that air. They were avid campers, but I think I'll just stick to "cabin camping". Thanks for a little taste of mountain love.

robin andrea said...

It will be interesting to watch this little one finally figure it out. I am always amazed by how reluctant some fledglings are take that step and get their own food. He sure is beauty, and what a treat to watch his development.

Rudee said...

Hey! You've described my 20 year old son to a T. Yesterday he said he is thinking about graduate school. I had to tell him that:

1. I wasn't going to pay for it
2. Didn't he think a little work experience may help first?
3. Don't you know you can get an employer to assist with this if you get hired in somewhere first?
4. There is a limit to how deep my pocketbook is.

Yes, your fledgeling story is a perfect analogy for me and my son. Let him find his own suet.

Appalachian Lady said...

Great photos! I once watched this happening at our bird feeder. The father kept feeding the fledgling red-bellied woodpecker while a female would shoo it away at the feeder. So, I was wondering if it's the mom who is pushing the bird to be on its own.

Imb--My mother passed way last year but she loved the country and flowers so I would bring her a "journal" of flowers and text to the nursing home. She loved it.

troutbirder said...

Will the bird psychologists approve of this "tough love" approach though?

The Birdlady said...

Oh my goodness! They are acting very "human."

Cheryl said...

Lovely......you always manage to capture something magical.
He is a big boy....he needs to pack his bags and make his own way now......look forward to seeing what happens......

daffy said...

Aww! I think I might have discovered heaven here! Those woodpeckers are wonderful. We have a Great Spotted Woodpecker (UK) who visits our mesh nut feeder each morning but I just can't manage to get it on camera. He senses my every move! I'm so pleased I found you here.

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Wow this is so beautiful !! This is So fascinating..Great one..Unseen Rajasthan

jeannette stgermain said...

Yeah, one of those spoiled brats! Very nice pics! Next week I'll be gone to the Californian mountains (Yosemite National Park) - hope to come back with lots of material for painting.

Charlie said...

Wonderful pictures & commentary!

Rae said...

Great photos as always. Nice bird psychology too.

Tina said...

It's nice you are able to watch them feed him and they are staying around..that must be some tasty suet!!
We also have nesting red-bellies..a different experience for us than the usual quiet chickadees! We started with all the drumming and the calling (talk about the screaming of a terradactyl)..which woke us up on a daily basis..then the hammering in the tree with nest making and finally quiet..they have two babies but we haven't seen them as much as you have yours!! Quite a diff experience for us!

George said...

That fledgling acts just like some human children I've known. I feel sorry for the (bird) parents.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Carolyn, I'll bet my Red-bellied have a baby or two---but I haven't seen the fledgling at our suet feeder YET. I've been watching --and have seen a tiny Downy there --and other birds, but only the Daddy/Mama Red-bellied.

You got some great pictures of your little fledgling... I'll bet he doesn't make his bed nor even flush the toilet either. Shame on him.
Hugs,
Betsy

The Thundering Herd said...

Teenagers. Enough said.

KGMom said...

Sounds like a teenager to me! ;-)

KB said...

Our woodpeckers (mostly Hairy woodpeckers) seem to feed their fledglings all summer. But, then again, they don't fledge until mid-July, so our whole schedule is different.

Our woodpecker fledglings start doing 'fly-byes' of the feeders when they're learning to land on them. They'll go back and forth many times, fluttering and slowing near the feeders but unable to land. Eventually, when they do land, they look so surprised that they barely feed.

I love watching the baby birds so thanks for these lovely photos!

scienceguy288 said...

I have seen more pileated's than red bellied woodies. Such beautiful birds. But one question. If they have red heads, why are they red bellied?

Shellmo said...

So sweet to see a red bellied fledging - you got wonderful shots! It's sad when the birdy tough love has to happen - I hope you get to see this little guy get food on his own soon!

Barb said...

What a big "baby!" Those parents are probably frazzled and hoping their "little one" soon gets the hang of taking care of himself. Wonderful pictures!

Ruth said...

A spoilt only child! Great photos. I have been watching our young nuthatches learn how to get food from the peanut feeder and it has been most comical to watch their clumsy efforts.

Cedar ... said...

great series of shots!

jayedized said...

Adorable... just adorable! Well... no, actually - since the Red-bellied is one of my very favorites - it's just absolutely incredibly so adorable...wonderful pictures!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone.

LMB - Thanks for dropping by. Feel free to pull any mountain photographs to your computer to show to your mother. If there are areas you would like photos of, let me know and I'll try to get them.

Robin - At this writing, the little one is actually coming to the feeder. The little Pileated Woodpecker is the only one still being fed.

Rudee - You are right. We can learn a lot about parenting from the birds.

Appalachian - Sometimes it does appear that one parent or the other is more reluctant to let go.

Daffy - Thanks for dropping by.

Scienceguy - That is the perplexing question on everyone's mind. The little tuft of red feathers on the lower belly hardly seems sufficient to name the bird "red-bellied."

dAwN said...

Awe..I love seeing the Fledglings this time of year..so cute..so awkward..begging for food!