Monday, August 24, 2009

The Last of the Summer Fledglings

Our Red-bellied Woodpecker pair had a rather late season fledgling this year. The parents fed their first fledgling for a very long time ( In fact, the "baby" was already getting some red coloring by the time he started feeding himself.

The parents seem a bit more eager to get this latest fledgling out on his own. Perhaps it is because of the time of year. [I will call this bird a male for simplicity's sake. I have no idea whether it's a male or female.]

As usual, the little bird flies to a nearby tree while the father goes to the suet feeder.

Oh, I can hardly wait! I'm really hungry this morning.

Much to his surprise, the father does not land near the fledgling. He flies to another branch higher in the tree. The little bird seems quite surprised.

Daaad! I'm over here! Where are you going?

The little bird quickly skirts up the tree, screaming the entire time.

You missed the place where I was waiting!

He chases the father out the limb. (If you click on the photographs, you will notice less and less food in the adult's mouth with each successive picture.)

Hey, Dad! What's the matter with you? Don't you see me? What are you thinking?

The father does not even turn to face the fledgling.

What in the world is wrong with Dad this morning?

Finally, the adult turns toward the confused fledgling.

I'm really hungry, Dad. Can I have that bite?

At last the fledgling gets some breakfast.

He asks his father a question and they have a short conversation.

Tell me the truth, Dad. What was that all about?

Well, son. It's all about growing up. Part of a parent's job is to teach their children well. Someday when you have children of your own you will understand. Just know I love you.


Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Carolyn, I think the same thing was going on at my house yesterday afternoon. I couldn't see them way up in the trees--but there were two of them. And they both were hollering at each other ---on and on and on (very loudly).

I thought at first that they both may have been males--fighting for territory. BUT--after reading your blog, now I wonder if they were papa and baby --like yours. Maybe the baby was hollering for food and Papa was hollering to get the baby to come to the feeders. Papa did come to the suet feeder several times --but I did see a little one later at the feeder. Don't know if it was the same baby or not...?????

All I know is that both of them were hollering --and it went on for a long time... Crazy birds!!!! Gotta love them, don't we????

You got some amazing pictures of them in the tree.


Kerri Farley said...

Oh, this is one of your sweetest posts! My daughter started her Senior Year of High school this touches me deeply!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I think the Dad is doing a great job...they must learn on their own!!! I would assume it was a young male too. :)

KB said...

What a sweet post! I enjoyed that, thanks for sharing.

troutbirder said...


robin andrea said...

I was so surprised to see dad relent and feed that little one. Very sweet and loving behaviors. Great set of pics.

Cicero Sings said...

Loved the commentary.

Jeannette StG said...

Your series of photos are well caught - so cute!

KB said...

I love this post - especially with the references to "Teach your children well".

Our only super dependent fledglings remaining are the crows. But, just today, I saw a parent ignoring a pleading crow fledgling. I've never been a parent but it looks like a very hard job.

Shelley said...

This was an adorable post Carolyn! I can just hear that juvenile squawking in disbelief as he had to head up the tree to find dad - hilarious!!

pat said...

my baby bird story was more like...
nurture, nurture, get out!! kind of like real life!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

This is such a great series of photos that tell a story. I love your captions.

Barb said...

Your comments are as priceless as the photos!

Sam said...

What a good father bird! Great pictures.

JeanMac said...

Aw, touching.

Anonymous said...

This is so sweet! Giving the little guy roots and wings, huh?!

You did a wonderful job of photographing and "translating."

Jayne said...


Twisted Fencepost said...

Adorable post!
I find myself cheering the little one on.
And wanting to pat Dad on the back for his teachings.

Beth said...

What a wonderful post, Carolyn---both touching and funny. Amazing photographs!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Wonderful photos! *smiling*

Anonymous said...

Very cool bird behavior. Similar to peregrine falcons. When the birds are first being taught to fly, the parent will bring food further and further from the nest to entice the chick to spread its wings, so to say. Then they even drop the food to give the fledgelings some moving target practice.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone.

Kerri - That important senior year is such a milestone of growing up. Next year she will be deciding how late to stay out and when to study. Scary, but I'm sure you have her prepared.

Robin - The parent really made it difficult before he relented and gave the little one just a taste.

Science guy - Wouldn't it be a wonder to see a raptor training the young ones? What a sight!

Dawn Fine said...

What a cool series of photos! I love the photo of the exchange of food.. so sweet how dads head is turned upside down and sideways!

I am thinking maybe I need to add word verification...I have been getting some weird commentors.

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

Great commentary for some really fun pictures, Carolyn!