Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fledglings at the Feeders

I don't remember seeing so many fledglings at the feeders this early in the summer.   They started to show up in mid-June and by July 4th our bird feeding station was full of birds - the fledglings and their parent, plus a couple of Blue Jays,  a pair of Cardinals, dozens of goldfinches and half a dozen hummingbirds.

The first fledglings to show up were the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks - in a wide variety of plumages.  I counted adult 5 males at one point, and more than a dozen fledglings with their axillaries  (armpits) all shades of yellow, orange and red.

In just a week, the yard was full of "peeooow" begging calls and lots of fluttering.  The grosbeaks were soon joined by Baltimore Orioles, a lone fledgling cowbird, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees and House Finches.  Together they created an early morning symphony of bird vocalizations right outside my kitchen window.

They've also created drama.

I've seen fledglings try their begging behavior on what appears to be one of their parents, on other fledglings and on species other than their own.

I've seen orioles eat suet, finches and woodpeckers taste the grape jelly and grosbeaks try to figure out the nectar and thistle feeders.

And I've seen them collide, fall off feeders and get up to give it another try.

One thing they're all starting to learn is the meaning of an alarm call.

It's mighty quiet after an accipiter takes one of the grosbeaks at my feeders.

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