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Old 07-11-2012, 04:20 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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One sparrow giving a crumb to another sparrow

I was just outside eating a hamburger on a park bench and a bunch of sparrows came in front of me, looking for something to eat. I tossed them a few tiny crumbs and they seemed happy with that.

There was one thing I noticed, though: sometimes one sparrow would grab a crumb and feed it to another (adult, as far as I can tell) sparrow. What's the possible motivation for this? Would they be mother and son? Husband and wife? Sparrow-of-the-evening and client?
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:30 PM
Dallas Jones Dallas Jones is offline
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What's the possible motivation for this?
That would be mating behavior. Birds do it, there is also something about bees.

You will not see the same food sharing in the winter.
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Old 07-11-2012, 04:58 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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I had a hunch it wasn't just altruism! Thanks.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:06 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Originally Posted by hogarth View Post
Husband and wife? Sparrow-of-the-evening and client?
There's a Pirates of the Caribbean joke in here somewhere.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:36 AM
filling_pages filling_pages is offline
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I've heard that called tidbitting when chickens or quail do it.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:48 AM
I_Know_Nothing I_Know_Nothing is offline
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They were probably babies grown up enough to look like adults. We had a sparrow mecca in our back yard and I saw this all the time. It's a little more obvious when there's more than one "juvenile" mobbing mom with open mouths.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:53 AM
I_Know_Nothing I_Know_Nothing is offline
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Did it look like this
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:21 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Originally Posted by I_Know_Nothing View Post
They were probably babies grown up enough to look like adults. We had a sparrow mecca in our back yard and I saw this all the time.
I suppose it's possible, although the second sparrow certainly didn't have any mobility problems hopping around on the sidewalk or flying away when people walked by. I.e., he/she seemed perfectly capable of feeding himself/herself.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:37 PM
AndrewL AndrewL is offline
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I suppose it's possible, although the second sparrow certainly didn't have any mobility problems hopping around on the sidewalk or flying away when people walked by. I.e., he/she seemed perfectly capable of feeding himself/herself.
That's normal. The hatchling leaves the nest as soon as it is physically able to fly, but still hangs around and begs food from its parents for as long as they'll put up with it.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:38 PM
RedSwinglineOne RedSwinglineOne is offline
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They were probably babies grown up enough to look like adults.
This. I don't know about sparrows, but doves are very nearly full size by the time they leave the nest. (I have a nest just outside my front window.) Looking at them on the ground you would not assume they were babies.
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:03 PM
fiddlesticks fiddlesticks is offline
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Here in San Antonio the major local bird is the great-tailed grackle. One funny behavior I've seen is what I assume are juveniles hopping around on the ledges of the windows at my office with their mouths open towards the window. They're begging for food from their own reflection.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:55 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Did it look like this
Sort of. Around 0:30, it looks like one bird is dropping a crumb in the other bird's mouth, as I saw. But in my case, the feeder was darting around picking up the crumb and the feed-ee was just sitting there. Then the feeder hopped over to the feed-ee, the feed-ee opened its mouth, and the feeder dropped the crumb in.
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