Monday, June 3, 2013

Teaching Baby Birds

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.
Getting fed

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.


Carolina Linthead said...

Awwww! I love Downy woodpeckers.

Janet said...

FANTASTIC photos!! I was just watching a woodpecker feed her babies this weekend!

I am going to show your post to my husband. He swears it's not necessary to put suet out for the birds in the spring/summer - but obviously we should!

Thank you for sharing this with me!


Arkansas Patti said...

I get tickled at the rowdy youngsters begging for food when they are the same size as their parents and the food is right in front of them. Reminds me of human teenagers.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

We have the same view out our window! Just yesterday I also watched the Downy Woodpeckers feed their little fledglings--I've never seen them do it before, and I marveled at the entire event too!!

troutbirder said...

Perfect story and photo illustration. :)

Taradharma said...

I think my first instinct is to feel bad for them, but when I think about the consequences of them NOT taking the risk, well, that's not a pretty picture. Your pictures, however, are very pretty!

Ms. A said...

Lucky you, getting to watch the "teaching" AND getting photos to share with me... who doesn't get to witness this kind of thing.

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a sweet capture of nature at it's finest!!!

NanaNor's said...

Wonderful photos. It is always such great to watch new hatchlings learn how to fly and fend for themselves. Thanks for sharing; I miss having feeders in our yard.
Hugs, Noreen

Anonymous said...

Such great photos! It is a wonderful thing to watch the fledglings become more independent. Ah, spring!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Janet - the birds probably do not NEED the suet in summer, but it will definitely attract them. Sort of like fast food for busy mothers. Be sure to purchase cakes that a resistant to melting in the hot summer sun.

KB said...

Fabulous photos. I am so amazed that you have fledglings already. Our birds are just making their nests now.

The woodpeckers (and ravens) are so loud when they are young. We always know when fledglings are around based on the ruckus outside. I can't wait!

Mary Lee said...

I love this!

We have some little wrens still being fed in the nest. (They took residence in the bluebird house.) Scout watches from the sunroom in utter fascination.

I'm a wreck, worrying about the possibility of the hawk swooping down.