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

    • wendy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 1: I think I was watching a staling at feeder. It seemed to peck a few times at seeds then raise head and eat. It flitted from one feeder to next. Activity 2: watched feeder cam which showed many birds. Some picked once from suet but most went to seeds. Blue jay seemed to peck several times in a row. Downy woodpecker pecked in upright position atvfeeder. Also saw pleated woodpecker. Some stayed a while and tried several feeders. Some went to one and flew away.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Activity 3:  Late afternoon in my backyard. Heard a woodpecker.  Mourning dove. Some kind of squawk, maybe catbird? Miscellaneous chirps, unidentifiable. This is really hard.
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Activity 2: I watched the Cornell Lab Feeder in mid-afternoon and saw several Mourning Doves and Grackles. The Mourning Doves fed from the floor surface, while the Grackles fed from both the floor and perch feeders. The Grackles held seed in their beaks, often rotating it before eating it.  Blue Jays also visited, mostly taking seeds from the perch feeders. They took larger seeds and often flew away with them.  I saw one Blue Jay that held two seeds at once in its beak and flew away with them. Red-winged blackbirds also came, not staying long, just taking seed away from the perch feeders.  The feeder was also visited by two woodpeckers, I think a male Hairy Woodpecker (looked like the longer beak type) and female Downy Woodpecker (shorter beak).
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 12
      Activity 2: I watched the Panama Fruit Feeder around 1:30 pm on Aug 15. Nobody was there for a few minutes, then one bird flew onto a branch. It was a small bird, with a distinct yellow cap, black back, and yellow chest.  From eBird, I tentatively identified it as either a Yellow-crown Euphonia or a Thick-Billed Euphonia.  It stayed on the branch for a while, constantly looking around. Then it came in a little closer, flying onto a perch above the fruit, also constantly looking around, and stayed there for a while longer.  Finally, it flew onto a banana and started to peck at it, still always looking around.  It stayed on the banana and fed for a bit, then flew away. It seemed that it was constantly on guard at the feeder, always checking around for incoming competitors.
    • Tricia
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Activity 1: I watched a pair of Galahs sitting on a fence engaged in preening behaviour.  They both preened their own breast feathers and then took turns to preen the head and neck of their partner. Activity 2: My backyard bird feeder (in Canberra, Australia) attracts mostly Galahs, sparrows and crested pigeons, with the occasional visit from Crimson Rosellas and Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.  The Galahs are usually waiting when I put out the Wild Bird seed mix.  There is usually one Galah on the feeder, one on watch and a few others queuing up waiting for their turn at the food.  The one on the feeder usually gathers a few seeds in its beak and then grinds or cracks them.  I am fascinated by the way these birds also use their beaks as climbing tools to get on and off the feeder.  Once the Galahs have had their fill the sparrows and pigeons move in to clear up the leftovers.  In my front yard I watched a Red Wattlebird feeding on an Eremophila plant, pushing its beak right down into the bell-shaped flowers to get to the nectar. Activity 3: I can recognise many of the calls of the common birds in my neighbourhood - the Australian Magpie and the Kookaburra are unmistakeable!.  I can also recognise the Crimson Rosella, the Raven, the Magpie Lark, the Red Rumped Parrots and the Faiy Wrens.  The Koel is a seasonal visitor to the area and is another unmistakeable bird call that I have heard a few times lately.
      • Tricia
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        Update - i have just been watching two Galahs who appeared to be sharpening their beaks.  My bird feeder hangs from a wooden pole and i noticed that these two birds were both pecking at the wood - they were tearing small bits out.  After a few minutes of this they started rubbing the sides of their beaks on the wood - just like a chef sharpening a knife!  They were doing this for about 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Michele
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I have a few Anna's hummingbirds who hang around my patio feeders. A few times I have seen one of the males flying erratically- and close to the ground. I had worried that he may have been sick or injured but today the angle of the sun was just right and I noticed he was eating small insects- catching them while he flew. Also I have a lot of white winged doves at my feeder. They are a bit too big to perch on the feeder, but will try anyway- often landing on top of one another to force their way to the feeder. And while house wrens and house finches eat from both the feeder and the ground, Aperts Towhees only eat seeds that have fallen on the ground. I have not yet seen them perch on the feeder.
    • amanda
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      I was watching the sapsucker woods live cam and I noticed that some of the grackles at the feeders were pointing their heads up or looking up while others were minding their own business. I think the ones that were looking up were acting as sentinels looking out for predators. And I was watching the Panama live cam and a grey cowled wood rail came up to the feeder and ate the bananas for a while. Not many other birds came up to it while it was eating except for some snow bellied hummingbirds. Also at the Panama feeder, I saw some type of euphonia and some southern bentbills i think. The euphonia was more solitary and ate much slower than the bentbills.
    • Laurie
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Activity 1: We have a charming little Oak Titmouse in our yard and one day we saw him pecking on our Wisteria.  We did a bit of research and found out that Oak Titmice do peck on wood however, they have an uneven tap while our Acorn Woodpecker have a specific rhythm they stick to. Activity 2: We noticed that our House Finches eat almost all of our seed in one day, but the Oak Titmouse will drop by, take a seed, and leave.  The White-breasted Nuthatch does not take any seeds and we just see a blur of white and black. Activity 3: We have learned to identify the song of the Spotted Towhee which is three beats and a trill.IMG_3863IMG_3754 IMG_3803
    • Lydia
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      Activity 1: I watched birds on the Cornell Feeder Cam. There were so many different species. I noticed mourning doves, red winged blackbird males and females, grackles, a woodpecker, and a chickadee. I noticed that when a bird got close to the grackles, they would scare them away. All of these birds were eating seeds. I did not know that woodpeckers eat seeds, although I do sometimes have one show up at my bird feeders. The mourning doves and grackles would sometimes call. I am wondering if it is to tell other birds where the food is or to keep together. I also watched the hummingbird camera. I just watched it for a minute or so and I must have seen about twenty hummingbirds. It was so neat! There were a couple different types there. I know one was the ruby-throated hummingbird. There was a type with a black head and I was wondering why a black head would benefit them.
    • Janet
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      20200807_164947 Activity 1: Building nests This is a nest that is currently being built/weaved by a "Southern Masked Weaver" I was watching the weaver carry strips of bamboo leaves to build his nest, extremely fascinating how these little birds can build such intricate nests only with their beaks. I could not get close enough to take a photo while the Masked Weaver was weaving and I did not want to frighten him, so while he was away collecting more building material I took a close up shot of his nest.
    • Jon
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      We have four blue jays that come to our feeder.  When we have sunflower seeds, they take one at a time.  But they love peanuts and when we have peanuts without shells in the feeder they manage to take 3 or 4 at a time, shoving them down into their mouth.
    • Jon
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Why is the Birdnet app only available for Android phones?  When will it be available for iPhones?
    • Jamies
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      Activity 3: I usually could identify calls from American crow, Black-capped chickadee and American Coot. I usually use the BirdNet App to help me identify. Those birds are common near where I live.
    • Kimberly
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      I observed birds on the Panama Fruit Eater cam. I observed 4 different bird species eating together at the feeder. One small finch like bird was at the feeder in a group of about 5 of the same species. They spent their time alternately eating and looking around. One of them acted as the sentinel for a period of time. In general they flew in one at a time, but flew away together. The different species did not seem to mind each other, although the smaller birds would move over to make room for bigger birds.   Listening to bird sounds outside my house- I can identify four specific birds by sound now. In my yard cardinals, carolina wrens, wood thrush and a yellow billed cuckoo are very common.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      I saw a blue jay way up on top of an evergreen tree just happily fluffing and pruning his feathers.
    • Ken
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Some house wrens have set up shop in a nest box attached to one of the pillars of our 2nd floor deck so we have been able to really observe them closely over the past few weeks.  The male started by sitting on top of the box endlessly whistling his beautiful mating song.   Since finding a mate and building a nest we've been constantly hearing their tsk-tsk-tsk scolding song.  The female (I'm guessing) sticks her head out of the box and gives the song, then I hear the mate answering her from one of the trees on our property or from the woods along the back.  The most interesting habit we've observed a couple of times is one of them trying to "mix it up" with the squirrels that like to climb up to the feeders on our deck.  The wren will "dive bomb" at the squirrel, flying back and forth sometimes seeming to peck at the squirrel as the bird makes its pass.  The squirrels don't seem to be paying a lick of attention, but eventually saunter off just to get the wren off its back.  Just today (Aug 1), about a month after first seeing them, I heard the little chirping of the hatchlings from inside the box.  Can't wait to see if they'll poke their little heads out the hole!
    • rita
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      Activity#1 I watched a pair of Flickers for about a half hour one evening- the were foraging on the ground  for food at first, and one was feeding the other. Then later I saw them again foraging on the ground for food, but near what looked like an old tree stump, an still one was feeding the other. I didn't know that Flickers were ground birds, really, and although of course they feed their young, these two both had adult plumage and markings, even though one was slightly smaller than the other. So I thought that it was an adult feeding a juvenile, and maybe teaching it how to find food. Activity #2 This is a very good activity for me at present. I have just put up bird feeders around the yard, including a finch feeder and a stocking full of thistle seed. I also put some suet in a suet cage and some peppery bird seed in a bird feeder. One of my neighbor's cats likes to come by and the birds are especially cautious if they see it, so I am trying to position the feeders away from any larger plants. The goldfinches just take a seed at a time, and stay a short while, as do the house sparrows- but that may be because of the cat- while the larger birds, such as the jays and crows, with eat quite a lot of bird seed. I had a juvenile red winged blackbird that wound itself around d the suet cage and ate quite a bit- whereas the downy woodpecker that comes only spends a short time at the feeder. The goldfinches haven't bothered with the thistle seed- they seem to prefer the peppery mix. And some birds will eat on the ground, such as robins and crows, and jays. Activity #3 I generally hear a lot more species of birds than I see, and I only know a few of the bird songs. But I have been able to find birds after having heard them sing. And I now know the robin's alarm call that it makes as I am walking near its nest or on a path that runs by its nest.
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      #2IMG_9130 I just added a humming bird feeder since not too many flowers in the back yard, the humming bird found the feeder the first day, and very territorial to other humming birds. They also eat bugs (I think) off this cactus, then head for the feeder, they only feed for a few seconds, ready to chase others out but they come different times during the day. Yesterday was cleaning the beak off the clothespin I am using to hold the feeder from the wire, was very funny.
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      There are some Eurasian Collared doves, which now I know they are not natural for this area or the US, sometimes not sure if I am watching her or the opposite, but I have a dog water bowl in the yard and she comes regular ( and other birds) to drink, I can tell she is watching were I am sitting almost look as she is tip-toe behind the bush to drink the water. Survival mode in the dry desert.    
    • Theresa
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      The other morning when I was out running I stopped to watch 4 egrets in a pond in my neighborhood.  A couple of them were wading, presumably hunting, and the other two were taking turns hopping up, flying down to the other end of the pond and looping back to where they started.  One would hop up and fly away and the other would follow.  Not sure if they were playing or if it was a territory thing.  One of them did a little vocalizing on one of his loops and let's just say he's not the singer that some of the birds in the Birdsong topic were....more of a croak than a song.   Red-tailed hawks are very common around here and I always get a strange sort of kick out of seeing them get mobbed...the "mobbers" really don't hold back.  The other night I saw a hawk getting mobbed and it even looked like one of the smaller birds (couldn't tell what they were) clipped him.  Must be a real rush for the little guys.  ;)
    • Devery
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I've been watching birds at a feeder that hangs just outside a dining room window.  It's a cylindrical tube feeder covered in wire mesh with 4 perches and holes where the birds can eat the seeds.  I typically see house sparrows and house finches on it, occasionally a song sparrow and goldfinch. Mourning doves and sometimes cardinals will be on the ground below, along with squirrels and sparrows,  picking up what has fallen out of the feeder or birds have dropped.  At times as many as 8 or 9 birds will be hanging onto the feeder fighting each other for a perch and food.  They will fly to the top of the garage which is about 10 feet away to take a break and plan their next attack on the feeder. Some of them are quite aggressive and will push others off the perches or, while on a perch, fight other birds tying to get on.  They are voracious and can devour all the seeds in the feeder in less than a day.
    • Cathy
      Participant
      Chirps: 45
      I just spent some time watching the hawks on the webcam.  There were separate videos for each hatch (of 3 eggs) and then for their fledging.  It was interesting to see the birds move here and there, stretching self and wings sometimes before flying off for the first time.  It really did seem they were working up courage. It was interesting, when the first hawk flew off for the first time, the others watched it fly off and where it went. There was also a video of the parent feeding the little bird.  One bird seemed to get the most food; I didn't know if the parent was purposely doing that or if that is just how the video recorded it. I was quite saddened to read one of the birds died in an accident after the videos.  I got quite attached to them after watching for quite a while.  I guess that's how it goes.  But these are definitely interesting and beautiful birds.
    • Eva
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      Activity 1: A common bird around here is the Rufous-collard Sparrow, who hops around and is brave enough to enter my house, probably to look for food, although it quickly flies away when I come down. Another bird I have seen around here is the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, who comes and drinks nectar from red flowers outside of my house. It usually doesn't stay still but hovers when drinking nectar. Activity 3: I can hear Crimson-fronted Parakeets every day. Today they were very noisy when they were perched in the tree by my house. I have also heard and seen the Great Kiskadee when it flies by my house too. Here is a photo of the Crimson-fronted Parakeet. a9e1bfe5-7709-456a-9937-eecc406fe2ec
    • E halg.
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I see mockingbirds doing flagging which looks like semaphore
    • Jennifer
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      Activity 1: I observed some white-breasted nuthatches. There were three of them skittering up and down the tree, but they were vocalizing and fluffed. To be honest, I couldn't tell if the behavior was play or territorial. I've never seen them fluffed before, so it was fun to observe. I also got to observe some Cooper's hawk feeding behaviors and an American Goldfinch bathing. IMG_2883IMG_0402