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, August 23, 2016

The Downy Woodpecker staring contest

At the end of summer certain bird species disperse from their family groups to form new winter groups. Sometimes even mixed species fly together for protection and to forage for food. But even though these birds work together to survive, right now there are scuffles and fights to determine hierarchy.

I come home every night to watch my Downy Woodpeckers on the peanut bell having a staring contest. They can remain frozen for minutes, just looking at each other waiting for the other to flinch. They do an occasional snake-like head waggle to get the other to back down but another bird approaching is what usually ends the “battle” for status in the group.

Socially dominate birds get first choice at where they want to feed and ultimately have higher rates of survival. They also get to choose better mates.

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
Shilly-shallying Golden-crowned Kinglet: Adorable! http://goo.gl/d50zT
Black-capped Chickadee: Nature’s Backyard Charmer http://goo.gl/ji1vh

Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://bird-guilds-band.html

No comments: