Posts Tagged ‘starlings’

I love to watch the birds at the feeders outside my window. Each species has its own personality. The Steller’s jays sweep grandly in and dominate—until a flicker shows up and chases the jays from the feeder. The starlings come in noisy hordes, the bushtits in friendly little flocks.

The chickadees are especially friendly and easy-going. The chestnut-backed seem a bit friendlier than the black-capped, but neither is particularly shy. They can get a bit demanding when I don’t keep up with my feeding chores. But when the feeder is filled with good, black oil sunflowers, the chickadees flit about in the dogwood tree where the feeder hangs. One will zip in, grab a seed, and fly to a perch nearby to eat it. Then another swoops in. They patiently take turns, each picking up a single seed and eating it before coming back for more. Occasionally two or three will land on the feeder at the same time, but no one gets pushy.

The juncos aren’t quite so obliging. They don’t like to share the feeder, particularly with other species. They flap their wings at interlopers and seemed annoyed that others would want to move in while they are eating. Still they are models of courtesy compared to starlings. Starlings will share if they have to, but you can’t make them like it. They squawk and flap about on the suet feeder, greedily grabbing big mouthfuls of food.

However, for a true show of dominance, the squirrel is definitely tops. He’ll hang by his tail over the seed feeder, gobbling down as much as he can before he loses his grip on the branch above and has to drop off. Or curl his well-fed body around the suet feeder so no bird has a chance of sneaking in.

And meanwhile the polite little chickadees eat their seeds one at a time, cheerfully sharing and enjoying life, one moment at a time.

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