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Re: house finch observation
- To: shannon douglas <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org (CAROLINA BIRDS)
- Subject: Re: house finch observation
- From: BILL HILTON JR Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History<email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 05 Jul 2001 14:20:27 -0400
- In-reply-to: <005e01c1057a$3681a6a0$7dd21f3f@default>
- References: <005e01c1057a$3681a6a0$7dd21f3f@default>
- Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
>I have lots of house finches at my feeders and I have noticed something
>interesting. It does not seem to be consistent with every bird, but
>frequently enough to be more than an isolated incident. Some of the birds
>that are either juveniles or females, but I think they are juveniles,
>sometimes have two feathers sticking up on their heads - they look like
>feather cowlicks but they are placed on the head as if they were horns.
>It's very strange. I have seen it occasionally on birds over 3 summers in 2
>different locations (so I doubt that it's just one wierd bird that I'm
>seeing). I have no idea what the purpose of it could be or if there is some
>behavior that might cause it inadvertently (like the pollen on the
>hummingbird). Has anybody else seen this?
>PS the nuthatches at my feeder are brown headed. Thanks for all the
>responses to backyard birds post.
SHANNON . . .
It's fairly common among songbirds--and some other bird groups--for
young birds to have additional head feathers such as those you
describe. This natal down disappears quickly. There have been various
hypotheses about the function, but one explanation is that it helps
adult birds recognize the youngsters as youngsters.
The anthropomorphic explanation is that it makes the young look "cuter."
BILL HILTON JR., "The Piedmont Naturalist"
Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History
1432 DeVinney Road, York, South Carolina 29745 USA
email@example.com, (803) 684-5852, eFax: (503) 218-0845
Please visit our web sites at http://www.hiltonpond.org and
"Never trust a person too lazy to get up for sunrise or too busy to
watch the sunset." BHjr.