More About Interspecies Feeding Among Birds

Pacific Coast Flycatcher

Dear Friends:

In order to do justice to Ann Allen’s lovely painting of her birdbaths in Where The Birds Are, I eliminated two photos which helped tell the story.

Interspecies bird feeding is unusual but not rare. The behavior is fueled by the powerful hormones which respond to the lengthening days in the spring.

Birds (male or female) may become a “helper” if their own nest is destroyed or if a bird is unable to find a mate. If nestlings have lost their parents and their calls are loud and persistent enough, a neighboring bird of another species may fill in as a parent.

Nestlings and fledglings learn their songs and calls from the feeding parents. Results can sometimes be disastrous as in the case where the helper, a gull of one species feeds gull of another species and the recipients no longer know when to migrate, I’m assuming our four juncos grew up to be proper adult juncos and didn’t leave for Mexico in the fall.

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