Date: 5/2/18 6:27 am
From: Jim Nelson via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: Re: [VA-bird] Bluebird Behavior Observation--Unusual?
This may be part of the mating process where the male feeds the female, rather than this being a young bird. But you describe the reverse with an adult female feeding an adult male, so maybe it goes both ways.


Here is a discussion from Birds of North America online:


Courtship-feeding occurs regularly in some populations, but occurrences and distributions within populations seem highly variable, with females “begging” from males in a posture reminiscent of chick “begging.” Males offer females prey without a visible signal from the female. Feeding of females by males is a regular aspect of breeding biology in migratory populations, but it is often rare or absent in facultatively migrant or nonmigrant populations (Thomas 1946, Hartshorne 1962).



Jim Nelson
Bethesda, MD



-----Original Message-----
From: Kent Clizbe via VA-bird <va-bird...>
To: va-bird <va-bird...>
Sent: Wed, May 2, 2018 9:16 am
Subject: [VA-bird] Bluebird Behavior Observation--Unusual?

I've observed bluebird behavior for a long time. But this is a first--wonder if this is normal, unusual, or what? In spring, bluebird couples return to the several bluebird boxes in my yard and vicinity. They begin to stake out their territory, elbowing aside tree swallows and finches who covet their boxes. Sometimes the couples have companions--my interpretation has always been that the companions are last year's children, still traveling with their parents. This year, what I thought was a couple staked out a box. They appeared to be just the two of them. They fended off a tree swallow couple that wanted the same box. But then, one day, as they perched on my deck railing, one of the bluebird pair fluttered its wings and knelt with his mouth open, like a newly fledged hatchling. The other bluebird, with a fat worm in her mouth, dropped it into the begging, open beak. I've seen this behavior repeated in the last couple days--as the same couple establishes control of this box. So--the question is: Could the begging-to-be-fed bluebird be a nearly year-old child still dependent on its mother? Or could this be a newly fledged winter-bred baby that was raised in the south, and came back north in the spring? Or something else? Thanks. Kent *** You are subscribed to VA-bird as <kingfishers2...> If you wish to unsubscribe, or modify your preferences please visit https://mailman.listserve.com/listmanager/listinfo/va-bird ***
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