Monday, May 25, 2009

Smart birds!

card feeder crop 5-25-2009 5-37-03 AM 2304x1728 I have a cardinal feeder that is weighted so that only birds of a certain weight—cardinals and pyrrhuloxias—can feed from the perch.  The bird lands and the perch drops to just the right height, opening the feeding window. Heavier birds like doves cause the perch to drop too far, while lighter birds like finches and sparrows can’t get the perch to move at all.

The other day I saw that a pair of house finches had figured it out. Somehow they learned that if BOTH got on the perch at the same time it would drop to just the right height. It was a little awkward, and required some fluttering of wings to maintain balance, but they repeatedly mounted the perch, taking turns feeding.

finches 5-25-2009 6-07-13 AM 997x691 

House finches (above); pyrrhuloxia on feeder (below)

pyrr on feeder 5-25-2009 6-38-09 AM 1345x1083


  1. Very clever those finches.

  2. Too cool! We have a weighted feeder to keep the squirrels at bay, but nothing so . . . advanced. I wonder how long it took the finches to figure it out. And just yesterday, our local NPR station added a "Birding" call-in hour to it's rotation of noontime call-in shows (bugs, pets, plants, etc.). They mentioned that AZ didn't have cardinals PER SE, but had pyrrhuloxias. See, I knew that!

  3. Anonymous6:59 AM

    nice read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you guys learn that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.