Date: 3/29/18 3:21 pm From: Scott Cronenweth <scottcronenweth...> Subject: [Maine-birds] false alarms at bird feeders
Happy spring, birding friends! Here in the western mountains our back doors and bird feeders are reappearing from beneath the snow. I don’t do much feeder-watching, but today I caught something intriguing that I never noticed before (with this particular cast of characters, anyhow).
The most numerous single species at my feeders right now is American Goldfinch. They outnumber all other visitors combined. Often they swing by in a flock and swirl around, exhibiting a fair bit of jittery pugnaciousness and collectively putting off other visitors like Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches.
This afternoon, as I sorted through the AMGOs hoping for a Pine Siskin, I saw and heard a chickadee make an alarm call. Immediately all the AMGOs flew up into the trees. But the BCCH that raised the alarm, far from heeding it him/herself, zipped in and grabbed a seed. A few minutes later the same scenario played out: BCCH alarm, AMGO panic, BCCH leisurely nosh. The second time a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches and a Downy Woodpecker seemed to be in on the game, and swooped in immediately along with the false-alarming chickadee.
I wonder how many times that works before the AMGOs catch on...