[Ontbirds] DE Junco - intersting learned feeding behaviour

Geoff Carpentier geoff.carpentier at gmail.com
Thu Jan 19 10:45:24 EST 2012

Over the past few days, I've watched a DE Junco problem solve a situation. On my deck I have a cage feeder in which I put a block of suet and seeds. The nuthatches and chickadees quickly found it as did downies and fed in the traditional manner of clinging to the feeder and chipping out the seeds. The juncos quickly learned that if they fed below the feeder, sloppy eaters from above (particularly the downy) would drop seeds to the ground and there's dinner.

Yesterday, one of the juncos retuned, as it did each day, and found no food. It then looked up at the suet feeder as if studying it and flew up to it, landing on the side of it and clinging to the mesh. Having trouble holding on, it hooked its tail under the feeder and held on for a few seconds. It's feet are not meant for grasping this type of feeder, so it was having trouble holding on. However, it repeatedly flew to the feeder, held on for a few seconds, knocked a few seeds off and then flew down to eat them.

Interesting behaviour.

This all happened at my house in Scugog Twp.

Geoff Carpentier

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