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Bird Feeding Strategies, part 2 – In the Trees.

March 1, 2014

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Last week we saw how diligent ground feeders were, particularly in the winter when food is greatly needed.  Another strategy some birds use is to scour trees for their meals.

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I spotted this Golden-Crowned Kinglet recently going over a tree with a practiced eye.  What is it looking for?

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It may not look like it at first glance, but a tree provides all sorts of cover for wintering insects and their eggs.  In the crevices of bark, even in small holes, there are lots of places for something to hide.

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This Kinglet is paying very close attention to all sorts of nooks and crannies because this is how it survives.  I wonder how many bits of food it finds per day?

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This bird is quite agile- it’s standing on the tree sideways for a brief period of time as it looks for grub.  What an acrobat!

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In this case, trees would be a particular niche that Kinglets exploit for food.  There are various different niches for birds to look through, which means that not every bird is looking in the same place.  This specialization makes it easier for everyone by not getting in each other’s way.  For instance, this Kinglet does not compete against last week’s White-Throated Sparrows which were finding food on the ground.  Birds are more spread out, and since food can be found in many different places, this is more of an efficient process instead of battling over the very best spot.

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On to the next tree.  Kinglets do this for hours at a time, but they find enough food to make it worthwhile.

No matter where birds find their food, they are very skilled at finding it.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2014 11:44 pm

    Great photos of a hard to photograph species of bird!

  2. March 2, 2014 12:00 am

    Tracy, fantastic shots of this bird! I have the hardest time capturing good shots of these Kinglets, as they are constantly moving. Way to go!!

    • March 2, 2014 10:02 am

      Thanks Joleen! I was in the right place at the right time- and of course I got plenty of poor shots too 🙂

  3. March 2, 2014 7:22 am

    Very nice shots of the Kinglet! It is one of our favorite birds. Bernd Heinrich in his book “Winter World” does a great job of exploring the world of the Kinglet among other things. A highly recommended read for those of us who love nature.

  4. March 2, 2014 8:27 am

    An appropriate name, I think! Great photos!

  5. March 3, 2014 11:23 am

    Great series of shots.

  6. March 4, 2014 11:02 am

    Another lovely post, and beautifully observed. Such a cute little bird, and great photos – I am sure they are not the easiest to capture!

  7. March 4, 2014 11:46 am

    I imagine myself trying to hang onto tree bark by my fingers and gain respect for birds that hang by their toes. What powerful feet they must have.

  8. March 30, 2014 8:46 pm

    What a cute little bird!

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