Bird Dads Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Bird dads come in all shapes and sizes, but it's their role in raising their offspring that really sets them apart. Here are a few examples:

  • Downy Woodpeckers share daytime nest duties with their mate. Only the fathers incubate and brood at night and they roost in the nest until their offspring fledge.
  • Chickadee and nuthatch males feed their mate while she incubates and broods the eggs. He also helps feed the young once they have hatched.
  • Downy Woodpecker and American Goldfinch fathers lead their fledglings to food sources, including bird feeders.
  • Male hummingbirds play no role in helping their mate raise their young. To make matters worse, they intimidate the mother and fledglings as they try to use the hummingbird feeders.

Look for these and other seasonal bird behaviors as more fledglings appear (with or without their fathers) in your backyard.

Young Bird Fledglings Experience Life Away from the Nest

This summer, parents across the country will spend countless hours with their children, taking them to places they’ve never seen before. The same can be said for the millions of wild bird families introducing their young fledglings to a whole new world of experiences.

People who only feed the birds during the winter miss out on many fun and fascinating wild bird "family" activities. By mid-spring and throughout much of the summer, fledglings leave the nest and continue being fed by their parents while being taught to eat from feeders. Watching this fun and fascinating activity is one of the true payoffs of the bird feeding hobby.

Here are some characteristics and behaviors to look for when watching these fledgling birds as they begin to leave the nest:

  • Fledglings are about the same size as adults, but often their plumage color is muted and similar to adult females.
  • In some species, fledglings' tails are shorter than the adults', because the tail feathers are still growing. A recent research study demonstrated that supplemental bird feeding provides a direct nutritional benefit that supports higher-quality feather growth for birds like these fledglings.
  • After one to three weeks, the parents stop feeding their fledglings and may even peck at them if they persist in begging for food.
  • Some foods are better than others for new fledglings. Insects are highly favored, so mealworms are attractive to parents feeding young. Jim’s Birdacious® Bark Butter® and Bark Butter Bits are also excellent as they are highly nutritious, easily carried, and easily swallowed.

It’s a perfect time to be seasonally savvy with your bird foods. Stop by the store and we'll help you pick out the high-protein and high-fat foods that will help to get your neighborhood fledglings off to a strong start.


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