Thursday, June 25, 2009

You Can Do It!

This little Acorn Woodpecker fledgling was trying for quite some time to pick up a peanut. Her parents had been coming to the feeder with her for three or four days. They would show her how to pick up the peanut, shove it in the tree bark crevice, and then they would peck little bits from the peanut and feed them to her. Every so often, they would not give her any, but would wait, looking at her as if to say, "OK. We've showed you how; now you feed yourself." She just looked at them and waited patiently for them to finally give in and give her peanuts.

Today they didn't come down to the feeder with her, but stayed in the branches several feet above her head. Mom and Dad would call out encouraging comments to her: "You can do it! You know you can!" and she would reply with a plaintive "I'm hungry, you come feed me!" The little one was sounding more and more desperate and I had heard no sound from her parents for several minutes (seemed like hours). Finally, she gave up her entreaties and started pecking around in the peanuts. It didn't take her too long before she had one and, from the branches above her, I heard the jubilant calls of her proud parents: "We KNEW you could do it! We're so proud of you! Now eat the peanut the way we showed you..."

After holding it up in her beak for a moment, as if to show her parents that she had, indeed, captured a peanut she pushed the peanut into a crevice in the bark of the large Ponderosa Pine the feeder is attached to and begin to peck out and swallow tiny peanut bits. She did this several times and then her parents joined her on the platform. I thought maybe she would revert to waiting for them to feed her, but happily, she continued right along feeding herself. Well done, little one!


  1. We too are enjoying watching the beginner birds learn to negotiate our various feeders, imagining their parents telling them, "Look, get this straight and you're set for life!"

  2. Ha ha, I bet that's exactly what they tell them!


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