Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Secret Lives of Birds

Can Spring be far off...?

I know some people in colder climates will gnash their teeth when they read this, but we here in Florida are coming out of our light taste of winter and you can see it everywhere that the earth has given the signal for Spring to come. But, the primary give away is that birds have begun to return.

Since I put up my birdfeeder I have begun to notice that birds have a social order that was not apparent at first:

Sparrows believe there is safety in numbers and are very nosey

It is an odd occurrence to see a single sparrow. One may show up and in no time a million will appear.

It’s as if every sparrow is watching what his neighbor is doing and is more than eager to copy it.

Cardinals are somewhat monogamous but very skittish

You always see pictures of the very red Cardinal but the lighter red is just as common. The very red is the male and the light red is the female and you will almost always see the two together. Sometimes you might even see one male with two females fighting over who is really his mate. Sound familiar? But don’t expect to get close to them because the slightest sound will cause them to fly away.

Woodpeckers are bullies

All the birds seem to take their turn at the feeder. However, the Woodpecker sees himself as first among equals and pushes everyone off to take his turn, even when he is much too large for the feeder.

Mockingbirds are conservatives

No matter how many birds line up for the hand-outs regularly provided in the feeder, the Mockingbird will not lower himself to take public assistance. He will fly by the feeder or hang out with the other birds, but sticks to a diet of worms, bugs, and berries gathered by his own effort.

Wild doves are good citizens but very dull

At least the type eating from my feeder! Their color is dull, they don't fly far, and they will do anything to "just get along."

There are varying levels of evil

Low Level threats:

The pesky neighborhood squirrel spends more time eating from the birdfeeder than the birds. Read just how pesky. He does not harm the birds but is a very aggressive squatter.

And High Level killers:

In the wild everything has a purpose and the hawk has his (or hers). This particular type of hawk is a Cooper's hawk or commonly known as a Chicken Hawk because he eats other birds.

His favorite form of hunt is to hide near a location where other birds gather and then attack from above. He is very efficient and skilled at staking out his location.

So there you have it. The secret lives of birds... Who knew!


  1. Great pictutes and commentary!

  2. I learned something and it was pretty funny too.

  3. Dear Ms McKenzie,
    Thank you for reading my blog (I'm glad you could eventually find a "translator" - good or bad as it may be...). I was very much interested in your thoughts and comments on your daily experiences and indeed enjoyed the pictures you take as you travel through life and around your beautiful country (I love Florida as well as the (too) few places I visited in the South of the USA.
    Looking forward to reading you. Take care.