We are blessed with the opportunity to watch fledglings being fed by their parents and then having to go it on their own. For the past several days, the Downy Woodpeckers brought their two fledglings to the trees near the suet. The parent would get suet from the feeder and fly to the baby to feed it.
On Saturday, the mother fed the baby one mouthful and flew back to the suet. She sat there eating and then flew off into the woods, leaving the baby there on the tree.
I can't believe she left!
I know where the food is. But it's too far away.
The little downy sat on the limb for several minutes, looking at the suet and then into the woods as if hoping Mom would return.
OK, I'm going now. One, two, two and a half...two and three quarters...
Finally the little bird flew, grabbing on to the side of the suet feeder. It sat there a little puzzled and then inched its way to the suet. (On the opposite side of the feeder, of course.)
We marvel at watching the birds learning to feed themselves. Some of them are really stubborn and extremely loud when the parents stop feeding them. I've seen a baby cardinal sit and beg for several minutes.
But as in human parenting, persistence pays off and the little one is launched into another step toward independence.