Stacey Cole's Nature Talks: Sparrow's feeding trick shows its ingenuity
A pair of young mallard ducks paddles past a watching photographer on a summer swim looking for lunch. One of the most familiar duck breeds, mallards can be found across North America. While many mallards migrate toward the Gulf of Mexico for the winter, according to the National Audubon Society, some can be found year-round almost anywhere there is open water. 8DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER
The June 17 letter began: "Recently I witnessed some interesting bird behavior that I wonder if any of your readers or you, have also observed."
The Twin Mountain reader continued: "I was in Conway with my wife and we had just entered our vehicle parked in a busy store parking lot. I glanced down to the front of two vehicles that were parked next to us. I noticed a sparrow feeding a bug to probably its chick which was almost the same size as its mother. Now at first I was concerned because the birds were between two parked vehicles that were facing each other in this busy lot. There were no obvious trees nearby and I wondered where the birds had come from. I feared for them as these cars could be moved by their owners at any time when they also came out of the store.
According to "Fundamentals of Ornithology," written by Josselyn Van Dine and Andrew J. Berger: "... instincts are inherited ... instinctive behavior is evoked by complex environmental situations particularly through visual and auditory stimuli."
"We have a pair of robins that come back every year to nest in our garage roof overhang. It appears that they have two chicks this year. In previous years, I have offered them worms that we had purchased at our general store. They would not touch them. This year, I offered them grape jelly because it was mentioned in one of your recent columns. No luck with that!
This was especially evident when he was hoeing small weeds. Gramp always hoed backwards so that he left no tracks when he was done. While hoeing, a robin would work the soil as close to the hoe as it could, anticipating the exposure of an earth worm.
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