The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Joy of Birdwatching Activities: Noticing Behaviors

    • Camille
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Activity 3: As I sit in my backyard, I hear a Northern Cardinal, Wood Thrush, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, and Blue Jay.
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      Activity 1  -  I watched the Royal Albatross on the Bird Cam.  I chose this bird because it is suppose to be one of the largest birds and not available to view in the United States.  It seems the threat in the environment on the cam is wind.  Several behaviors, I noticed were the nesting and some courtship behaviors.  Once the baby was ready to hatch, I saw staff replace the egg with a fake egg and realized how endangered the bird maybe.  The female during nesting actually pulled up roots to add to the nest or was it food for later?!  During the brooding period the female seemed to call the male to take his turn and the male did something strange, stopping a call, and clipping the female's beak with his beak to quiet her.  I did see the dance of four or five RA move feet as the baby watched which seemed like imprinting walking.  The young baby imitated the movement a few times by standing in the nest but then sitting back down in the nest. Activity 2  -  The red-headed woodpecker was interesting because he/she did not leave the suet during the cam view (4 or 5 minutes) of the bird feeder.  Many birds were only feeding for 30 seconds. Activity 3-This morning I could hear about ten distinct sounds but unable to name each bird.
    • Heath
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Activity 3: This morning I heard the songs of an American Robin and a close but hidden Carolina Wren. I usually hear the songs of the wrens and the wood thrushes. However, seeing them in the woods is a different story.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      Activity 3:  I have been watching and listening for birds on my daily walks/   I have been studying the sounds of birds in my area and was so happy today to realize I correctly identified the call of the Red Winged Blackbird. As I was walking along, I heard a call I had studied this week and said to myself, It’s a Red Winged Blackbird. So, I stood still and waited and then he was kind enough to flyby so I could see him. It made me happy that I remembered which sound was his.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      Activity 2:  I have several different feeders to accommodate the “regulars” that stop by my yard.   I notice that the Mourning Doves often feed from the seeds on the ground under the feeder in the yard. The Downy Woodpecker hangs out by the suet feeder. He sits there for a good amount of time before flying off.  The Cardinals eat seeds patiently from the feeder on my porch and then if chased away they come back to clean up the seeds that spilled onto the cement floor of the porch.  They hop along and get as much as they can from the ground as if not wanting it to go to waste.  Blue Jays and Grackles are a bit aggressive to watch as they swoop in, grab and go.  They often scare other birds away.  Finches like the small holed bag I fill with Nyjer seed. They hang on the bag and eat from there since the bigger birds can’t get their beaks into the little holes.  Robins dig around on the ground for worms and Hummingbirds sip nectar with their long beaks. They are also very possessive of the feeders and don’t share very well.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 31
      Activity 1:  I observed the tree swallow for about 20 minutes.  He was staking his claim on one of the bird boxes in my yard. He was showing territorial behavior to other swallows as well as to some sparrows who stopped by to check out the box.  He would sit atop my flagpole and watch the box.  If other birds came by he would swoop down and ask them to leave.  I thought I noticed it swooping and catching insects and then I read the guide and found out that is one of their behaviors.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 1: I have been watching our Northern Flickers intently this week. While we normally have only one at a time, we have had up to 5 at once in our yard, and they are performing amazing dancing and vocalization displays with each other. Sometimes, it is 2 males, sometimes 2 females, and most often mixed. So it is not just courtship, but also territorial. Fascinating. Activity 2: I have noticed for awhile that birds like chickadees and nuthatches fly in, grab a seed and fly to a tree to eat it, then repeat. Meanwhile, all the various finches just sit at the feeder for an extended time and eat, sometimes battling with others for the perch. The Juncos do both behaviors. Each species does it differently!
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      Activity 1:  While recently visiting the coast of North Carolina , I was able to observe a Great Egret fishing in the marsh.  Standing stock still, or carefully moving through the water, he would tilt his head from side to side before quickly stabbing his beak into the water and pulling out small fish. Activity 2:  My birdfeeder is such that only small birds are able to perch on it for any length of time.  Chipping Sparrows are able to fit nicely and will stay and gorge themselves.  Chickadees, while small, don't tend to stay long, opting instead to grab a seed and fly to a branch to sit and open it.  White-throated Sparrows will perch on the feeder and also pick up seeds from the ground.  Other ground feeders include Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves and Dark-eyed Juncos.  Birds that take from the feeder include Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches and even Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers who hang on just long enough to grab a seed and go. Activity 3:  While sitting in my backyard I identified the following birds by their songs.  Tufted Titmouse, American Crow, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, White-Breasted Nuthatch and either a Red-shouldered Hawk or a Blue Jay. Using the Merlin App, I was able to determine that I had missed identifying a Northern Flicker.
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity #3: This morning in Eastern Ontario, I could hear the calls from Red-winged Blackbirds, Northern Cardinals and American Robins. Cardinal P1090815
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 3: I spent a summer in Chincoteague VA a few years ago. I was a fee collector for the national wildlife refuge there. I remember sitting in the booth with the window open listening to the woods around me. I heard and saw a prothonotary warbler, I heard a few brown headed nuthatches in the canopy of pine trees around me. I heard the common call of cardinals. I saw a few other warblers that I couldn't quite figure out what they were. I heard and was able to identify a with sound ID a red headed woodpecker before I saw it flit from a tree.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 2: The bird feeder in my parents backyard always has a bunch of activity. From blue jays and cardinals, grackles and doves to the seasonal warblers and painted bunting. Jays and grackles are big for the feeder so they will grab and go. cardinals will land for a few minutes or will fly to the fence 3 feet away. Mourning doves normally hangout on the ground and grab what other birds have knocked off the feeder. The warblers won't stay long on the feeder taking what they grab to the oak tree on the other side of the yard. Painted buntings will sometime sit and eat but seem to be easily scared off and will retreat to a near by bush or tree.
    • Emily
      Participant
      Chirps: 23
      Activity 1: The other day I was watching some mourning doves outside my window, they were walking around looking for seeds and mealworms that I throw in the grass occasionally so my cats have something to look at through the window. The mourning doves were finding bits here and there. A blue jay became interested and tried to bully the doves out of the way and the doves stood there ground. A few minutes later, I believe it was, a crow came next, one of the doves began to put a wing up and flapped it once or twice. I know shore birds to do this to lure predators away from their nest. The mourning dove didn't have a nest there, but only one mourning dove did this behavior so i wonder if this mourning dove tried to divert the crows attention to itself instead of its partner.
    • Corrie
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Activity 2: watching the bird feeder today, I noticed in a mixed flock of black capped chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, and woodpeckers the chickadees visited the feeder the most and the titmice would kick them off of the feeder. The nuthatches spent less time at the feeder, and the woodpeckers didn’t visit the feeder at all.
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Activity 1: My children and I came upon a group of Sparrows yesterday, and even my kids wanted to stay and watch them for a while. They were flying up to a ledge where they were bathing - we could see the water droplets flying off the edge - then they would fly down to another surface that was getting full sun (it was a lovely sunny day yesterday, even though there is snow on the ground). They would sit in the sun, preening their feathers, and fluffing themselves up. The kids thought they were adorable. At one point, a large bird flew overhead (it might have been a Red-tailed Hawk) and all the Sparrows immediately flew down to the ground behind some shrubs. I didn't notice any alarm calls, it happened so suddenly, but I must have just missed them! Activity 3: Earlier during the same walk, through a forested area backing onto a school , I heard several bird calls. I recognized the American Crows, the Northern Cardinals, the Black-capped Chickadees, and the House Sparrows. I heard two other calls that I didn't recognize, so I used Merlin for those and found they were Hairy Woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches.
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Still Activity 2: While typing, even more birds came by! A few Goldfinches came to grab seeds and fly off, and some Black-capped Chickadees did the same. Several Cardinals came to the trough, but didn't stay long. Activity 3: On the same birdcam, we heard the Chickadees before they actually appeared. We heard the Blue Jays call to one another from time to time. And there was the constant chatter of the Mourning Doves. I tried out the Sound ID function on Merlin, and it picked up the Goldfinches, but I had a hard time hearing that through the Mourning Doves.
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Activity 2: Watching the Cornell Bird Cam, we noticed there were lots of Mourning Doves eating from the trough, gathering together. We saw Blue Jays swooping in to grab a peanut and fly off with it again. We saw some Starlings eating from the suet, and we saw a Hairy Woodpecker on the log-like feeder, eating from the holes, then later maybe a Downy Woodpecker. The Mourning Doves seemed to be spending the most time at the feeder, the Woodpeckers were in and out quickly, as were the Jays. The Starlings hung around for quite some time on the suet.
    • Gwen
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      With winter here, I've been getting a lot of Dark-Eyed Juncos at my feeders. I noticed that they preferred to eat the seeds the House Finches had knocked off the feeder on the ground. I started to put seeds on the ground and many of them have started eating there more. I've put out a little cement slab for them to eat it off of instead of the snow. these are one of my all-time favorite birds and I'm very glad to have attracted more to my home :)
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      It always amazes me that the 2 (M&F) Cardinals that come to my feeders never show up at the same time.  Since it is winter, they are probably not caring for a nest.  I watch and watch, but one shows up, then disappears, then the other shows up.....but never at the same time. There are 3 gregarious Blue Jays that almost always arrive at the feeders at the same time.  They hang in the branches of the big tree, drop down for a seed and then back to the branches. The WB Nuthatch always eats upside down at the seed feeder, but the downy always eats right side up at the suet feeder. There is a group of House Finches that eats regularly.  I suppose there could be a Purple Finch in there once in a while.  However, the one that I suspect moves so quickly that I cannot get a good look at the bird.  The House Finches are happy to sit and eat and eat.  I am able to focus on every detail. The one suspect bird is in and out and not to be identified.
    • Kurt
      Participant
      Chirps: 29
      Watched the Panama cam, saw a group of 6 Grey-Headed Chachalaca feeding on the fruits present, while 2 or 3 would dip their heads down, the others kept their heads up, then they would alternate. These are larger birds and they muscled out the smaller blue and red birds who were briefly present. They eat by grabbing and ripping the fruit, primarily bananas.
    • Tim
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      #2. House sparrows mob the feeder, bull their way on, and get shoved off.  Doves sit and eat until another dove displaces them.  Chickadees pick through the sunflower chips, take one to a bush, eat it there, and come back for more.  Blue jays swoop in, eat quickly, and zoom away.  Grackles sometimes grab multiple chips, dunk them in the water dish, repeat, and then fly away.  Most birds get out of the way of the downy woodpeckers, and everyone gives the red-bellied woodpeckers plenty of space.
    • Michelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Night time at the Panama feeder. Humming bird would flit in feed for a second or two then fly off quickly out of picture frame.
    • Activity 2: I observed a White-Breasted Nuthatch take one peanut at a time and dart away with it to eat in privacy. The Tufted Titmouse also did the same at the seed feeder. One seed, then off he goes returning several times to the feeder. The Carolina Wren sat in the window feeder with the meal worms and had a feast. He is loud and makes a mess when eating. The Bluebirds do the same. The House Finches will sit on the perch at the feeder and take their time as well as the Chipping Sparrows. The Chickadees don’t sit as long as the Finches or Sparrows, but they will rest for a minute to eat on the feeder and then fly off. If they are eating peanuts they will take one at a time and leave, returning several times to the peanuts. The Downy Woodpeckers will hang on the suet feeders and take their time enjoying their meal. The Red-Bellied Woodpeckers will go to the no mess seed feeder and take seeds and leave.
    • Marcel
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      A couple American Goldfinch in my garden on Oct 14. The plumage is a lot different then the goldfinch in spring or summer. They were picking seeds that I had thrown in there. They were competing with White Crown warbler dark eye junco and black chickadee
    • Marcel
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
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    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      B0771DE6-5BFF-48AE-B3FF-A11DF4E883EA On the subject of Goldfinches….they have been busy around my house.  My husband was sitting in the driveway and called me from the car to tell me there were Goldfinches on my Zinnias!  I grabbed my phone and peeked out the window and caught this picture!  There were three or four of them dining on my flowers, picking off the petals and eating the seeds.  Again I went to All about Birds to check out their diets and eating habits and sure enough, they like to land on plants (like thistles) and eat the seeds.  It was hard to be mad at them.  They are nesting now and I guess they were hungry!