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.

Monday, November 16, 2015

It is all about pecking order at the feeder

Why do the birds land on each other at the feeders even if there is another perch available?

The scuffles at the bird feeders is all about pecking order. They aren’t bully-birds but acting naturally for the bird world. Usually it is the older, more dominant male that will displace a younger bird.

Within the bird species there is a hierarchy. Hard billed woodpeckers seem to poke other birds to give them the advantage over most other feeder birds including the jays.

While the doves use some fancy wing-work and their large presence to shove competitors away at the feeder. The old one two, wing and then peck method is a favorite of goldfinches to get the best seat at the feeder. You’ll see that subordinate birds will either leave and wait their turn or move over a little and try to make themselves look smaller.

At my house the feeders are always full and the garden also provides natural foods so hopefully nobody goes hungry. Otherwise these subordinate birds will have to venture out to forage in less reliable places and have a more difficult time in bad weather.

The worse the weather, the more the birds depend on feeders. When it’s especially bad outside, seed eating birds flock to feeders no matter where you live to build up their energy reserves. And remember everyone should clean their feeders about once a month. When birds are stressed they are susceptible to diseases and so it’s best to serve them on a clean plate.

Related Articles:
Do Birds Eat Only at Certain Levels? http://goo.gl/vgE94
Why feed birds in the fall http://goo.gl/Jq4Aj
You get more birds if you feed year-round http://goo.gl/IsJKJ  

Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/huYuE2

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