Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring Shift at the Feeder

Though much delayed by our cool wet spring, in the last week or so we've had a number of our seasonal visitors finally making their appearance. The winter residents like the chickadees and juncos have moved back to the mountains, while this male black-headed grosbeak showed up on Sunday.

He was accompanied by this female. I also saw a male blue grosbeak over the weekend, a new bird for me, and of course the camera was far out of reach.

This American goldfinch, in full breeding color, made his first appearance of the season yesterday.

Brown-headed cowbirds are common around here, but they had never come to our feeder before last week. I am familiar with their famous parasitical nesting practices, but had never really seen the strange head-bobbing behavior they are displaying here. Maybe some of you know more about it.


LabRat said...

It LOOKS like three males competitively displaying for dominance, especially if this uptilt was followed by a bow-and-fluff.

Do those first two have some kind of vegetation in their bills?

Reid Farmer said...

I think a dominance display is highly likely - they just seem to do it constantly.

You can click on the picture to enlarge it and see yourself, but I think you are right, the two on the left do seem to have seeds in their mouths. I spread some seed on top of the pillars and they are in the midst of feeding.

Anonymous said...

Though a lot of people do not like cowbirds, I really do; I especially like their liquid, burbling call. The ones that visit my feeders(in N.C.)eat a lot of the scratch corn and millet in my birdseed mixture. As for their parisitizing other bird nests, I once watched one female(accompanied by several males) battling with a bluebird nesting in a box I had put up. The cowbird managed to get an egg laid despite the bluebird's vigorous defense, but the bluebird speared the egg with her beak, and dumped it out of the box immediately! So the cowbirds don't always fool the other birds!....L.B.