handsome visitors

by Brenda
(Elora ,Ontario, Canada)

I am enjoying the beauty of the rose-breasted grosbeaks at my feeders .they love the blackoil sunflower seed in my hanging feeder . The last few days i am not seeing the females but the males are very busy at the feeders! Are they possibly collecting seeds for their young hatched birds?

The work of the parent birds in rearing their young consists chiefly in three activities:
1. feeding the young,
2. cleaning the nest,
3. and brooding the young.

Birds eat enormous amounts of food and grow with remarkable rapidity. Observations made on young birds show that they may eat their own weight of food in a day and increase in weight fifty per cent. One observer watched a nest of cedar waxwings and weighed the young each day till they left the nest. He found that the weight of one nestling doubled on the first day, more than tripled on the second, and nearly quadrupled on the third.

The parents usually begin to feed the young at about sunrise and continue till sunset, making a working day of about fifteen hours. Observations show that on the average many birds feed their young about every four minutes, or about two hundred times a day. Studies show that the female does 95% of the feeding of the young.

The kind of food fed the young is usually insects, but in the case of the seed-eating birds, like sparrows, the young are fed at first almost exclusively on insects. The most common kinds of food are caterpillars, spiders, and grasshoppers. Some birds feed fruit to their young, the kingfishers feed fish, and
hawks and owls feed mice and other rodents.

So to answer your question, no I think the males are feeding just themselves and the females are hard at work, feeding the babies.

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