Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Teach Your Children Well

Some people stop feeding their backyard birds in the summertime, thinking there's more than enough "natural" food sources around for the birds to take advantage of. Not me! I get lots of birds at my feeders during the summer with the added benefit of watching the adult birds teaching their babies where the best places to eat are.

Baby Downy gets a suet treat from his mom.

There's grape jelly in this dish for the orioles. However, I found out this summer that some robins also love grape jelly. This little robin doesn't quite know for sure what to do yet though.

Mourning dove parent teaches "Junior" the best place to find safflower seeds.

All of these photos were taken from the dining room window. Having bird feeders close to the house definitely maximizes your viewing and photo opportunities, plus it's fun to be able to hear them chirping too. I wouldn't have known that baby woodpecker was on the deck except for his loud, insistent chirping for mom to "hurry up with that suet!"


Lisa at Greenbow said...

What sweet photos Ruthie. Isn't this just the most fun time to be watching birds.!

Ruth said...

I like your new look. The picture of the Woodpeckers is excellent. I tried to get a picture of our RB Nuthatch parents feeding their young from our peanut feeder but was not fast enough with the camera.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Lisa. You are so right. Those baby birds all seem to have such puzzled expressions on their faces, but it's fun to see when they finally figure out how to get their own food!

Oh Ruth, I'm so jealous that you get to see baby RB Nuthatches! They are one of my favorite little birds. I hope you're able to snap a photo to share with us soon.

Anonymous said...

Ohh so cute, all those baby birds, some not so small though. Those are such nice pics. Feed them and they will stay, you know we feed all year round too. Sure it costs but we have such enjoyment from out feathered friends.


KGMom said...

Aww--Ruthie--this is great. So fun to watch the nurturing and parenting that goes on all around us.

Richard said...

Grape Jelly and Oriole nector feeds about half the neighborhood...Robins, Grackles, RB Woodpeckers, Chipmunks, Orioles, Squirrels, and Nuthatches so far.

cindy said...

Great post, Ruthie. We feed year round, too. The Downy Woodpeckers drink the sugar water here. The robins and catbirds and orioles and those darn grackles eat the jelly. Yes, we have birded with John and Chris before. Great birders and great guys! We drove over to the Courtland gravel pits twice but did NOT see the Blue Grosbeak.

troutbirder said...

Love the baby pics. I feed year around too but close... no. My social and neatness advisor complains about bird deposits on the deck. Oh well.

Julie said...

Babies are soo much fun! Well, most of them anyway! We can always tell where the robin babies are by their constant cry. I worry though that the cats can tell that too!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
It's funny to watch the little birds trying to figure out how to feed themselves after the parent flies off somewhere!
I guess every hobby costs some money, but I don't mind paying to feed the birds because the rewards are so great.

Thanks Donna. Those little birds have gotta learn quick!

Hi Richard,
This is the first year I've seen the grape jelly get so much attention. I noticed a bluejay sampling it the other day too, but you get many more "tasters" at your jelly!

Hi Cindy,
Have you noticed a decrease in the the numbers of grackles in your backyard yet? Mine have really dropped off (yea!)
Hope you get a chance to see the Blue Grosbeak yet this summer.

Hi Troutbirder,
I used to get complaints about the mess on the deck too, but I just ignored them. Whenever it comes up, I just point out someone's messy closet and dresser drawers and the discussion's over!

Hi Julie,
It's the constant chirping that always alerts me to the presence of babies too--they seem to be everywhere right now!

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie, your pictures are fantastic. We're all so fortunate to have you share them with us. No matter what food or feeders we put out, so many of the birds desert us in the summer. Maybe our northern bird population needs to stay in the cooler, heavy woods?

cindy said...

Yes, there has been a drop off of grackles and starlings. I'm putting out more cheap birdseed to hurry up the process of getting them grown up enough for them to leave. Please tell me I'm not crazy!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet picture of the woodpeckers!

Grape jelly! Who'd have thunk it!

Heather said...

Love this post, Ruthie! I love watching the baby birds come in to the feeders, too! And hearing them beg is hilarious - oh my goodness, they get so noisy! Unfortunately it's hard for me to get very many photos of them coming in to the feeders because our feeder station is super shaded in the summer, so I really enjoy your photos.

NCmountainwoman said...

Fledglings are the best thing about June. They more than make up for the earlier pleasures of migration. I love watching the parents feeding them and I especially love their first attempts to get their own food. Our titmice fledglings will sit on a branch and scream because no one will feed them anymore. Finally they give in and fly to the feeders themselves.

I love your photographs of the parents and young.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Mama Pea. I'm not sure why your birds don't frequent your feeders in the summer. It certainly could be due to the fact that you have dense woods so near by and they can find plenty of good food there.

Hi Cindy,
I don't think you're crazy at all. Anything you can do to get those grackles and starlings to move on is worth it.

Thanks Mary Lee. Grape jelly seems to please lots of birds (hopefully it will be a while before the ants discover it too!)

Thanks Heather. Aren't those baby birds a riot? I love watching them open their beak and flap their little wings as soon as a parent comes near--even though they're as big as the adult birds!

Thanks Carolyn. I would love to see baby titmice. They're not very common here where I live.

Red said...

How fun to watch the parents with their offspring! I've seen a few young house finches and young hummingbirds about. I think the rest are still nesting - or about to start their second round that I hear happens in warmer climates.

dAwN said...

Oh..we have been having so much fun at my parents house watching all the birds coming with thier fledglings.
I agree..keep feeding..

Gaelyn said...

I agree about feeders close enough to the windows for photo ops. I've seen a few young hummingbirds. But keeping seed around at the canyon is really too much trouble. I keep looking for the babies though.

What's up with the grape jelly thing? This is new to me and I've seen it twice tonight.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Red,
We've got plenty of baby robins and house finches, so I think some of those birds are on second batches already too. I'm still watching for baby orioles and cardinals.

Hi Dawn,
I agree, it's mighty entertaining--much better than summer re-runs!

Hi Gaelyn,
With your limited storage space, it would be a problem to keep birdseed around all summer--not to mention the chance of attracting non-bird critters!
I don't know why the birds like grape jelly so much and I've never experimented with putting out other flavors either.

Meggie said...

Hey Ruthie! FYI: I decided to leave the empty wren nest in my fuschia plant after the babies fledged. I never noticed much activity since then but today when I went to water the fuschia, I took the flashlight and discovered four more eggs in the nest. Guess they WILL use the same nest over and over again.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Meggie,
Thanks for the update on your little wrens. That's pretty neat. They must really like your fuchsia plant!