Tuesday, May 19, 2015

You Can Lead The Bird To The Berries But...

This weekend the cedar waxwings descended on my Yamazakura Cherry tree.
 

 To fill their bellies full of bitty ripe cherries...


Most of the time they are so busy, bobbing and weaving and picking and flitting, that it's all I can do to snap a few shots...



This year to my great surprise, I noticed a pair of waxwings perched on a branch and staying put.

Slowly I moved to where I could see what was going on and set my camera on continuous burst...



At first, I thought it was a loving couple but when I watched the back and forth that followed, I recognized the behavior immediately...



It was exactly the same behavior that I observe at my feeders in late Spring when new bird parents bring their fledglings to the gourmet smorgasbord that I set out for them.

The newly fledged birds sit there dumbly amongst all the seed and continue to chirp for their parents to bring their food even though the food is right in front of them.

And so that's what was happening here.  The fledgling is on the right and the Mama is on the left trying to teach the young adult how to forage and eat his own berry...


Time and again the adult passed the berry to the youngster...


And time and again the little one would try to get the berry centered in his beak...and not quite get it...



And not knowing what to do, he would pass the berry back...


And Mama would pass it back again.  

This time I thought for sure that the baby bird would get it.  I mean that berry is pretty well centered in his beak.   I think Mama was thinking the same thing...



But no.  It wasn't going to happen.  

Just when the kiddo decided to do the flip...the quick motion of tilting back the head and letting go of the berry so he could quickly gobble it up...it got off center...again...


And he passed it back again...


And she tried again...



And he aborted again.  

It reminded me of when I used to put cheerios on Jack's highchair and he would pick them up and try to feed me...and I would eat one...and pass one to him and he would shake his head no and laugh, with his lips pressed shut...and pass one back to me to eat...and so it went...



Except Mama wasn't eating this berry-o and this little guy wasn't getting the idea that he was supposed to.

It went on for minutes.  I have hundreds of pictures of this dance.

Until finally, he squished the berry in his beak and just like that, it was gone.  Down the hatch...



A little cheer erupted from my heart as I watched Mom fly off to pick another...



And Junior just sat there, waiting around...not even trying to pluck his own berry...


For the sake of that Mama bird, I hope I observed the first berry eating lesson of the day and not the tenth!

And we think human parents need patience.

[Note:  Last year's Cedar Waxwing post is here if you're interested.]

[Back update:  Thanks for all the back well wishes.  I'm still lying on my belly and typing this.  Can't sit for any length of time still but I am slowly getting better.  Here's hoping I'll be stitching by the end of the week.]

18 comments:

shawkl said...

Soooooo cool! Thanks so much for posting this...just made my day! Hugs!, Kathy

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh my gosh! You captured some fantastic photos!!!!! Already my mind could see you turning one of these into one of your exquisite needlework creations.

Thank you for sharing this bit of spring at your place.

FlowerLady

Createology said...

Susan your photos are beyond amazing and what a wonderful sight to behold. Beautiful Birds and Berries. Thank you...Nature is incredible.

margaret said...

amazing photos lucky you to witness this exchange between Mum and junior and to capture it and share it with us. Do hope the back eases soon, watch out for bed sores do not want you getting those from too much lying down in the same position for too long!

deb* said...

Beautiful photos...and love your captions!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Lovely pictures...and YOU are the picture of patience to get so great shots.

We have had a nest or two of Cedar Wings over the years, but never see them flying as we don't have berry trees or bushes.

We are losing all our baby birds this year to feral cats..crafty critters that won't be lured by the traps.

My heart was sick this AM to find the cardinal nest in the honeysuckle outside my bedroom window was empty save a few feathers.

Ancient Wanderer said...

That is my favorite time of year to watch birds - when the babies are sitting right next to (or on top of!) the food they are crying for mom to bring to them. You begin to wonder if you need to set up big arrows saying "you are here" and a map saying "this is food you can lean over and pickup yourself!" Mom is always so patient and the babies keep crying and ruffling their wings to let momma know - More Food! Nature is fabulous.

Estella Star of the East said...

Terrific pictures! I had no idea it took so much effort from mum, you should think that they can rely on instinct, but apparently not :)

Rachel said...

Patience of a saint, that mother bird - that wouldn't have been me!

Maureen said...

What a wonderful post! I've never seen a waxwing. They almost look artificial.

H Gotts said...

Great photos and comments! Really made my day - thanks for sharing.

Margaret said...

Catching up on my blog reading...and this post has started my journey off with a giggle and a grin. I get Cedar Waxwings up here in the fall and early spring, feeding on aged and often fermented or partially frozen berries. Hope Junior learns to find and eat them on his own before the fall!

Laurie said...

Wow Susan! Awesome photos and your explanations of what was going on was priceless!!

Cathy Lloyd said...

Thanks for the wonderful photos and commentary! I enjoy my time here very much. Love stopping by your blog. My coworkers who don't stitch are mesmerized by your creations!

LIZ said...

Thank you! Just delightful!

Lisa Boni said...

Such amazing birds! Your photos and the tale that goes with are fabulous as always! I've just gotten back from a crazy birding adventure with my sister, but none of my photos are any where as close to the wonderful sharpness and clarity of yours!

Marnie said...

First time I've giggled out loud in a long time.. Thanks for the chuckle! Poor mama bird...

Judy S. said...

Great photos, Susan. We all should be that patient, eh? We were in your area over Memorial day for a very sad occasion but couldn't stay long enough to explore.

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