16 June 2010

On this day (June 16th)....................

Bird fostering

June 16th 2008

A soon to be fledged Great Spotted Woodpecker being fed by a Red Cheeked Starling at Onuma. Bit of an odd one here. The previous week the Starlings had been hanging around trying to feed the young Woodpeckers but the adults drove them off. A week later the Starlings had taken over feeding duties full-time. Why were they doing it? Perhaps the Woodpeckers had ousted them from the nesthole and the Starlings were feeding the young Woodpeckers out of parental instincts? A bit of a mystery.........

This story made the local newspaper (but not with my photos alas) and I even found my pictures of it on a Thai blog one time..........



  1. What's happen?

    Did starling mistake to recognize its chick?

  2. Oh hahaha I think that's me!
    Sorry for not informing you beforehand but I also made a link to your blog here. It's actually a small web forum of my nature club in Thailand. I really think it's an amazing case. You should try to publish it somewhere....maybe the OBC bulletin.......

  3. Hi martesorex, it was over a few days, I think the Starlings wanted to feed it...........

    Hi unravel, aha so it was you! Don't worry, thanks for linking my blog.......

  4. Hi again martesorex, sorry I misunderstood your question.

    I think maybe the Starlings had been displaced from their own nest and were feeding any young birds nearby. Instinct maybe?

  5. Over here, we have cowbirds. They used to be called Buffalo Birds or Bison Birds because they ate insects the herds stirred up as they walked and fed on the grasses. The cowbirds and/or buffalo birds did the same -- eating insects the animals scared up. To keep up with the ever moving herds, the cowbird laid her eggs in the nest of any bird that had an egg in the nest. When the eggs hatched, the larger cowbird kicked out the small eggs. When the eggs hatch, the parents feed the cowbird thinking it is one of their own.

    I think the same things has happened here. The starlings think these are the babies from the eggs they had laid there. Not knowing their eggs were removed or eaten by the woodpeckers who laid their own eggs in the starlings nest in the woodpecker hole.

    So the starlings return and feed the babies. Not their babies but they are programmed to do that, I guess.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog, Stu.

  6. Hi Abe, yes I think that was probably what happened........

  7. Also it's amazing how the calls of hungry chicks of many species sound similar nad as you surmise i suppose the adults are programmed to respond to the cries of hungry chicks. Whatever, it's still a good record of the event

  8. Fantastic behavioural capture!
    And what a David Attenborough moment.
    It is worth writing a short note for a journal about this, if you can take time off the footie.


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