Friday, May 2, 2008

Unusual Bird Behavior

I saw a couple of different birds this afternoon doing some things that aren't normally associated with their particular species, so I thought that I would share them with you (since I had no new migrants to photograph).

Here's a little goldfinch in my crabapple tree. Can you tell what he's doing? (look closely at his left foot)
I had to get the binoculars to confirm, but he's eating one of the remaining dried up crabapple fruits from last fall! I had no idea that goldfinches would eat fruit, did you? Apparently he hasn't noticed the 3 feeders I have filled with nyjer seed.

The other day, I moved my peanut wreath to the crabapple tree right outside the dining room window. Here's what I saw this afternoon:

Did you know cardinals like peanuts? Did this cardinal even know what was inside the shell?

I managed to capture this short video of the cardinal trying to get a peanut out of the wreath. That short, stout beak is useful for cracking seeds, but sure isn't very handy when trying to reach inside the ring and grasp something as big as a peanut.

Hey Mary, it looks like I've got an extra RB Grosbeak, so I'll be sending one of these guys your way this weekend!


Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Okay, here's mine. I have a new hummingbird feeder. The hummingbirds LAND to eat. I had no idea!

Robin at Bumblebee

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I knew that Cardinals ate peanuts from the shell. I haven't seen goldfinches eat crabapples though. I am not too surprised. They have to have a more varied diet than seeds becasue seeds aren't always readily available. Maybe the crabapples have shrunk down to the seeds being easily edible.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Robin,
Aren't hummingbirds the neatest birds? I was amazed the first time I saw one perched also.
Check out this post from last September (before we "met"):

Hi Lisa,
I've heard of cardinals eating shelled peanuts, but in the shell was a total surprise for me.
Those crabapples are all shriveled up to not much bigger than a large raisin. It was fun to see that finch eating it.

KGMom said...

Ruthie--before today I would have answered NO about cardinals and peanuts HOWEVER--here's my story.
I have squirrels who keep raiding the bird feeders so I bought a whole bag of peanuts in shells for them (love your peanut wreath, by the way--need one of those to amuse the squirrels). Anyway, I throw peanuts out for the squirrels. Several were on top of a picnic table, and a male cardinal landed and picked one up and flew away. Wish I could have seen him open & eat it.

cindy said...

Ruthie, the orioles and grosbeaks usually arrive in our yard around the first of May. That's an average. We've had them first come as late as the middle of May and as early as the last week in April. I think the south winds play a major roll. South winds from a storm system usually bring in migrants. Also calm, clear nights. I think the M.O.U. website has average arrival dates posted. Maybe we just think it's early because spring is so late!

Jayne said...

Ruthie, I want one tooooooo! I have a female for him already, but have seen no males. :c(
Funny seeing the cardinal contemplate a peanut!

me and my camera said...

A lovely video and I'm intrigued by the peanut wreath. I guess I'll be doing some shopping online for one! Do the Blue Jays love it? Also your mention of the Goldfinch eating fruit has alerted me to be sure to watch for what they are eating when they visit my feeder area trees.

Marsha said...

Great photos and cool observations. I have never seen the goldfinch eat fruit either. The dreaded grackles have found my peanuts in the shell and have been eating them faster than the bluejays.

mon@rch said...

very cool stuff you are seeing and never had a crabapple in my yard! But seems like a reasonable thing for them to be eating! I guess they need to eat many other things (besides the seeds we feed them) to get their yellow coloring! Also loved your cardinal video!

Mary said...

Odd, Ruthie. One of my Chickadees pecked at the hummingbird feeder the other day. But, really, I think your birds are nuts. So, when can I expect my package with a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak in it? HUH???? HUH????

I'll thank you with a delivery of a plump, purple pigeon :o)

Anonymous said...

Have never seen a cardinal eating peanuts, hmmmm! What's going on here is that the male is been busy feeding the female cardinal, it's spring you know, when male thoughts turn to, well you know!!!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
The cardinal took the whole peanut?? Thanks for sharing your observation....maybe it's not such unusual cardinal behavior after all!

Thanks Cindy. I'll check out the MOU website for those arrival dates. Our 7-day forecast looks like spring is here to stay (at least for next week).

Hi Jayne,
I haven't seen any female grosbeaks here yet, so for sure I'll have to let my guys know to head your way! ;-)

Hi M&MC,
I've posted a link in my post for today on where you can get your very own peanut wreath. Not only do bluejays love it, woodpeckers are also very fond of it.

Hi Marsha,
I catch an occasional grackle on the peanut wreath also, but it's really close to the house and I think they're somewhat reluctant to try and get peanuts, because if I'm home, I scare them away!

Hi Mon@rch,
This crabapple tree is planted about 12 ft away from my house. I wanted a fast growing tree that wouldn't get too big and this crabapple was an end-of-the-season sale. It attracts so many birds--for the blossoms in early spring, then with good cover and perching spots in all the branches throughout the summer, and finally for eating the fruit in the fall. It makes a mess when the little apples fall on the ground, but the birds will even eat them from the ground. I can't say enough about how much this tree has enhanced bird viewing opportunities right outside my window!

Hi Mary,
Would you send me two pigeons for a grosbeak?? I have only had pigeons at my feeders a couple times, so they're considered a rarity in my backyard!

Hi Mom,
My female cardinals must be nesting already because I hardly ever see them at the feeders anymore.

Herci said...

What beautiful pictures! They have really made me get in the spring mood. Thanks for sharing them.

Living in Boston has its perks... for me, mainly that its sweater weather almost 10 months out of the year! But I sure do miss nature!