Gift #790: Bird Feeder Gourmand

Today’s feature is on a common, but confounding visitor of the bird feeder.  I spied one while watching birds at Eagle Creek and was able to get some rare shots for the bird aficionados.  Observe below the furry bird.


Those attuned to details will note that this bird has diverged from typical avian anatomy by retaining the use of four feet as opposed to two modified appendages for flight.  While this bird does no fly, per se, it is an adept acrobat and can take advantage of sharp claws and tree branches to move quickly about the landscape.

It’s feeding habits have given rise to its formal name: Rhodentius gluttonis.  A tenacious feeder, this furry bird will overcome any obstacle in pursuit of seeds (or whatever else might be loosely considered “food”).  You may recognize some of the common poses:  lurking underneath the feeder for fallen seeds, hanging from the feeder by the back feet, attempting to grab seeds directly from the feeder with the front paws (specialized for grabbing and feeding), or perched directly on top of the feeder.  This last pose has been adopted to make the feeder top-heavy, thereby tipping over and spilling the food contents.  Oh yes, this is a wily bird – well designed by years of co-adaptation to feeders.  Its success at bird feeders is enhanced by its intelligence and keen ability to turn every situation into a game it must win.  Note here the classic “Do you want to play tag?” pose.


On occasion when feeders no longer present sufficient challenge, this bird will seek to interact with other visitors at feeders.  Interspecies behaviors most commonly include chasing, flicking the long tail feathers to attract interest, and stealing bird seed.  When not procuring food, the bird can be found pursuing other interests such as digging, climbing, and scratching.  True, it is a most engaging bird, most especially so because other birds do not seem to display these qualities.

In spite of its unruly feeding etiquette and propensity for messes, a close look at the face quickly allows one to understand why it is tolerated or even endeared by select members of Homo sapiens.  Look at those tiny ears, beady eyes, and little button nose with long whiskers.  It’s so darn cute!!


Please be sure to tune in next week for smith exciting episode of “Natural History with Prof. Sarah”

Blessings to you,



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