I have a small plexiglass platform feeder attached to my kitchen window that I keep stocked with a good all-purpose mix of seeds. It attracts a nice variety of backyard birds.

Late this afternoon two “Chippies” – an adult and a juvenile – came to the feeder. The juvenile looked very recently fledged, and this may well have been its first visit to a feeder. It looked over the pile of seeds, and it seemd as if it didn’t know quite what to do. The adult had been feeding steadily until it noticed the juvenile’s dilemma.

She (let’s assume it’s the mother, I couldn’t tell) hopped over and began picking up and passing seeds to her offspring (another assumption!) then eventually hopped away to continue feeding on her own.

The young one had quickly picked up on whatever message was sent, because it started to do its own hunting and pecking through the supply of seeds.

I’ve been watching birds at the feeder for many years, but I’ve never been lucky enough to observe this behavior.
I’ve seen parents feeding baby birds in the nest, of course, but never outside of it.

I did once see a row of cedar waxwings perched on the branch of a berry bush, and pass berries down the line to each other. That was the only cooperative behavior I can remember observing.

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