LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Big Baby Downy

Among our favorite woodpeckers is the Downy. They are low on the pecking order around here and must wait their turn at the suet if the pileated, red-bellied, or hairy woodpeckers are around. We have at least two nesting pairs of Downys that we can identify and we especially love watching the fledglings come to the trees near the feeders.

Woodpeckers seem to feed their babies longer than many other birds. In fact, the Downy in the following photograph (taken last month) is actually larger than the parent. She had been brought to the tree to try to feed herself. Several times she tried to summon the courage to fly to the suet but each time she failed. Finally she started screaming with frustration and the mother obliged once more and gave her some breakfast.


It seems to us that bird parents are rather like human parents. Some of them know exactly when to turn loose but some of them continue to feed the young long after it appears they could manage on their own. We have observed some birds coming to the feeders and eating; then flying to the trees screaming for their parents who will come feed them again.

24 comments:

Dog_geek said...

Oooh - I love the little downy woodpeckers! Lovely pictures!

robin andrea said...

Some babies do try to hang on and get their parents to continue feeding for as long as possible. It's hard to resist this little Downy. I understand that parent's affection.

Ms. ~K said...

I enjoyed my visit to your blog...great photos and your dogs are beautiful...
I live in Northeast Georgia, so we're neighbors!
Kit

Busy Bee Suz said...

Great pictures and I love your analogy of bird parents/human parents. Although, I don't miss feeding mine by hand. (mouth either) :)

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Now THAT is a sweet pic!

Rae said...

Great photo. The downy is my favorite also. I think it is because of their small size and non-aggressive nature. I always make sure I have enough suet in winter for all the ones that visit.

George said...

You captured a wonderful picture of Mother Downy with her baby. We've been enjoying watching a baby Downy come to our suet feeder. He seemed to get the hang of it very quickly.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I love the Downy's also Carolyn. We have a very small Downy at our suet feeder... Wonder if that is the Mama--and that the bigger one is the baby????? Hmmmmm... I didn't know that.

It's amazing how many of the small birds are as big as the parents.

Great picture of the Downy's..
Hugs,
Betsy

Cheryl said...

Oh my gosh.....that did take me back to my children when they were younger.....

You are so lucky to have so many youngsters around.....this is a great time of year, isn't it??

KGMom said...

I love your description of the baby SCREAMING for the parents to come to the rescue!

Bird Girl said...

I think that picture is just perfectly beautiful - so sweet to see this in such a nice setting!

Coffee with Cathy said...

Love the bird-human parenting comparison. Very apt -- and observant! Always enjoy your insights and photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

scienceguy288 said...

A priceless shot. As I like to say, it oozes cute.

Mildred said...

What a cute picture of the Downy Woodpeckers. You must get so much enjoyment watching the different birds and their habits.

Ruth said...

I love your picture. I tried to get a picture of our Red-breasted Nuthatch parents feeding their young at our feeder, but it was very difficult and I never was able to catch the exact moment. Your feeders are fascinating!

amarkonmywall said...

I was talking today with someone about how banding the baby owls made them more appropriately fearful of humans and eager to fly the coup and she said, "maybe we should band our kids..."

I like your downy baby and mum.

KB said...

Beautiful Downy photos. The woodpeckers are also the loudest fledglings, I think. We know when they've fledged based on the screeching out by our feeders!

Kerri said...

Very much like human parents! Great shot!!

robin andrea said...

I just had to stop by and tell you about the beautiful Acorn woodpecker we saw yesterday, feeding her fully grown baby. It made me think of you!

troutbirder said...

Same woodpecker pecking order perfectly proper here as well. Now repeat faster!

dAwN said...

Awww great picture! Yeah wonder why the are feeding still?

Donna at Mourning Dove Cottage said...

Great photo! I can just see that little baby screaming ~ how cute!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for commenting everyone.

Ms. K - Welcome neighbor

Rae - I love the Downys for that reason as well. They seem so much more patient and gentle than the other woodpeckers.

Cheryl - I do think fledgling time is even better than migration. The little ones are such a delight.

Donna - Screaming is often the right word.

Robin - I've never seen the Acorn Woodpecker. Must be a great sight.

Peggy said...

found your blog by way of Betsy. I was born and raised in Brevard and still have a brother and other family there. Love your bird photos!