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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Some daddy birds that feed their babies

This month, your yard will become home to a new generation of birds. But as you're watching fledglings chase their parents, beg for food and learn the necessary skills to survive their new world, look for the presence, or absence, of father birds.

Adult male birds' roles in raising their young differ greatly from one species to another. For example, male hummingbirds do nothing to help raise the young; their only contribution is to mate with the female and guard his territory. While the chickadee and nuthatch males feed their mates when they are incubating and brooding, and both adults feed the young.

But the Bird Father of the Year goes to the Downy Woodpeckers which have only one brood in the north. Downys nest in tree cavities that the male excavates. Then after 3 to 6 eggs are laid, both male and female share daytime nest duties. The males also incubate and brood at night and roost in the nest until their offspring fledge after two weeks. Once fledged, Downy males will also help feed the young and assist in leading them to food sources such as backyard bird feeders for the first few weeks.

Downy Woodpeckers are fascinating to watch as they propel themselves up the side of a tree, using their tail as a spring, hopping along, stopping from time to time to investigate a nook or cranny that may hide a juicy insect. Their bill is less chisel-shaped than that of other woodpeckers, and they use it like a pick for dissecting insect tunnels just under the bark. The bill is also used like a pair of tweezers to pick tiny insect eggs from the surface of leaves and bark.

To attract downys to your feeder, you can offer sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, seed cylinders or mealworms. These energy-packed foods will entice your birds and their young to your yard for an up close view.
View video at: http://youtu.be/FqaCg4eE_8o

Source: WBU Nature News