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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Ah-ha moment for baby Hairy Woodpecker

A Eureka moment. A baby Hairy Woodpecker learns to use the bird feeder. The mother is feeding it hulled sunflower from our bird feeder, how convenient for her. The mother leaves and the fledgling starts using the feeder itself! How cool to see this. The transition from a fledgling which is still dependent on the parents for food (sorta like college age), to a newly independent young bird is a difficult one. Young birds must learn to get their own food and avoid predators and other dangers. Mortality is high in these young birds. By learning to use the feeder, this fledgling has a head start on its life as an independent young bird.

Note that the fledgling has considerable red feathers on his forehead. This is the juvenal plumage and the juvenal male has extensive red on the central crown, the female no red or a little on the hind crown. When they get their adult plumage, the male will have a red patch on the nape, the female will not.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I see this every year with baby Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, but I never tire of watching them!