Sunday, December 22, 2013

Feeder Bird Behavior

About a week ago, when we were getting all that wonderful snow, I took some videos of our window feeder and the tons of birds that were visiting. I'm sure a lot of people reading this are used to watching birds at feeders, but it's still pretty novel for me. I just get totally engrossed with these creatures' behaviors at our little feeder.

Things I've learned from watching these birds come and go: Titmouses have huge personal space issues. They will not share the feeder, and they just barrel other birds out of the way when they decide to come in for a landing. Chickadees also don't share space well, but they seem pretty polite about the whole process; one bird will usually be waiting in the trees and ready to fly in as soon as whoever's already eating flies off (and a chickadee and titmouse on totally opposite ends of the feeder is sometimes OK). Things I still haven't figured out: How in the world do these birds avoid mid-air collisions when two or three of them try to come in at once?

I think my favorite part of this video is at 0:57, when two titmouses somehow both end up on the feeder and just raise their crests for a few seconds like, "well, what do we do now?" (The titmouses later in the video aren't so hesitant to tell other birds to clear out.)

Not shown: The amazing Carolina Wren who camped out inside the feeder that afternoon for several minutes, just chowing down (I didn't even know wrens ate seeds) and not caring at all about the other birds, even when a titmouse landed practically on its back. This snow storm also brought our first Song Sparrow visitor to the feeder, which was really lovely to see.

When I took this next video, I learned a few things about birds and closeness to my phone. (I used my phone to take these videos.) The nuthatch cared not at all about the big black box floating in front of its face, and the chickadees didn't seem to mind too much either. The House Finch wasn't too enthused about the idea and left just to be safe. The titmouses, though, were all freaked out. Don't go to the feeder, there's a monster there! I guess titmouses' personal space issues extend to strange objects, too. (I just love how much the nuthatch doesn't care, though.)

The bird activity has slowed down a bit now that the snow is melting. (It'll be all gone in the next day or two, and we've got rain on the way....) I'm glad I made this recording of the birds at their craziest, and I wanted to post these videos before I forget what winter's like.

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