About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Basic Instinct

My nephew asked why the Robins throw worms in the pond. I know the fish enjoy them and it did remind me of the old photo by Paul Lemmons.

Birds' parental instincts kick in at the sight of small open mouths eliciting an inborn response to feed. The photo shows a Northern Cardinal delivering worms to a goldfish at the edge of a garden pond. The gaping mouths of the fish stimulated the bird. The goldfish, accustomed to being fed at the surface, didn't care who was doing the feeding. To read more go to Birdscope.

Sources: The Birds of North America Online www.bna.birds.cornell.edu and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Handbook of Bird Biology (see www.birds.cornell.edu/homestudy).