Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Wing and Learning to Forage

Got up, got out of bed, did not drag a comb across my head but rather went and opened the curtains. OH NO!!!!! There's a wing out in the yard just wafting back and forth in the breeze. Somebodies dead! But then the wing slowly, gracefully folds down and the other wing comes up and it too wafts in the breeze. What is going on?

About then the second wing goes down and a Mourning Dove head pops up. At first I think it's Doorstep Dove but on a closer look I'm thinking it's Doorstep Dove's Daughter. (They have very much started to look alike.) She was sunning herself but with a fully spread wing. I've never seen that before. Pigeons, after a bath, sometimes even in the bath, will raise a wing exposing their "wingpit". But they don't extend the full wing. They keep the top, the part above the "elbow" folded. Not so, it seems in Mourning Doves.

Thank goodness no one is dead.

Then my eye is pulled to two little fledglings who are under the seed vine barrel.

Seed Vine barrel? Yes, that's right. There is half a barrel that is a planter which once held the world's biggest tomato plant, and now the wire supports are giving purchase to many seeds which started on their own. Seeds from the bird feeder. So what do they grow? Birdseed of course, and it's just coming to ripeness.

Left Fledge has been eating fresh seed off the vine while Right Fledge has been pecking commercial seed off the ground. Right gives me a look, then gives his probable sibling a look. What is he eating? Looks good. Right jumps at Left chasing him to the other side of the barrel.

Currently all the small passerine fledglings I see, are small brown and streaked. They've Finch bills. House or Purple maybe? Do their tails look truly forked or just kind of forked? Not much help. Parents in sight? No.

Well, he's one of them as there is just the smallest bit of red appearing by his eye.

Not having much experience with fresh seed this guy has pulled one off but seems to be having difficulty getting it far enough back to swallow it.

He stretches his neck forward, beak working. That move seems to work.

Now for another. He tugs. The vine starts to come with the seed and he starts back a half step but holds on.

He's held on with tenacity...

...but the jerk of the seed parting from the plant has caused him to drop it. He picks it up in a trice and this one goes down far easier. Getting the hang of it?

Alright! Time for another. This time he's prepared for the jerk, and the need for position in his mouth and he continues happily plucking and swallowing.

The Birdseed Barrel not only grows " little birdseed" it has also hosted a place for volunteer sunflowers to take root. I can't wait to see who appears to forage on those.
Donegal Browne

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