Photograph via snooOG

Welcome to Ornithology, a subreddit dedicated to the scientific study of wild birds.

This is a place to discuss wild birds in a scientific context — their biology, ecology, evolution, behavior, and more.

Welcome to Ornithology, a subreddit dedicated to the scientific study of wild birds.

This is a place to discuss wild birds in a scientific context — their biology, ecology, evolution, behavior, and more.


  1. No birding posts.

  • No bird ID posts.

  • No posts about pet birds.

  • No posts or comments supporting harming birds.

  • Do not post questions that could easily be answered by Google or Wikipedia.

  • Keep comments civil and non-toxic.

  • Everything you need to know about:

    Avian Biology

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    291,871 Subscribers


    What to do with this nest and egg we found?

    00:43 UTC


    Sudden feeding frenzy across backyard bird species - Why?

    This post is intended to seek answers to birding behavior that I observed.

    I recently moved into a new home and have been watching as the birds get more comfortable feeding at the feeders. Not after a few days of putting up a few feeders, I counted over 20 species of bird visitors. I have a special feeder that allows for viewing directly in the window sill and the birds are hesitant with it. I let the other feeders go empty to encourage the birds to checkout the window sill feeder. Instead, most of the birds didn't come back and so after a week I filled up the feeders again.

    In total I have 2 mixed bird seed feeder, 2 dedicated black sunflower seed feeders, 1 dedicated sunflower kernel feeder, woodpecker feeder, hummingbird feeder, and the window sill has mixed seed as well.

    After refilling the feeders, I attracted:

    1. family of gold finches
    2. family of house sparrows
    3. family of house finches

    Many of the other birds (cardinals, blue jay, cowbird, titmouse..) either didn't return or very seldom show up. It was disheartening. I thought perhaps that the bird families were chasing off the other birds.

    Then suddenly today there were an explosive amount of birds all day at the feeders. 2xTitmouse, fem cowbird, cardinals, gold finches, chickadees, downy woodpecker, white breasted nuthatch, goldfinch, house sparrows, finches, red bellied woodpecker, chipping sparrows. They have eaten 3-4 days worth of food in one day!

    Yesterday was hot, and then it rained. Otherwise, I really don't know what was special about today. I think the frenzied eating is super interesting and I wonder if anyone knows why?

    1 Comment
    22:55 UTC


    What kind of bird is that and what should I do?

    For context this little guy had siblings the last time I checked but they all dissapear all of sudden...should I do something or let him be? The nest is bellow

    19:06 UTC


    House finch interspecific vocal mimicry?

    I was moving boxes so I couldn’t record him for long, but this house finch was singing what sounded like cardinal song for a while! Is this something they do often?

    (Recorded on May 15th @5:47pm in Richmond Indiana)

    1 Comment
    13:27 UTC


    Something completely different... Games with birds... here's a list returned by AI database search of games


    Here's a list of 50 PC games where you can play as a bird:

    1. Eagle Flight
    2. AER: Memories of Old
    3. Feather
    4. ABZU
    5. Falcon Age
    6. Hatoful Boyfriend
    7. The Falconeer
    8. Wingspan
    9. For the Birds
    10. Owlboy
    11. DuckTales: Remastered
    12. Flapping Bird
    13. Tokyo Jungle
    14. BirdGut
    15. Aviary Attorney
    16. The Pigeon Dating Simulator
    17. Fugl
    18. Beaky Skies
    19. Bird of Light
    20. Bird Simulator
    21. The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human
    22. Vane
    23. Flockers
    24. Featherpunk Prime
    25. Beasts of Bermuda
    26. Birdcakes
    27. Featherfall
    28. Pigeon Fight
    29. Pigeon Wings
    30. I Am Bread
    31. Flight of Light
    32. Duck Game
    33. Kiwi's Quest
    34. Wuppo
    35. Feathered Frenzy
    36. UemeU
    37. Alula
    38. Ayo the Clown
    39. Hat in Time (has a bird character)
    40. Pid
    41. A Raven Monologue
    42. VR Bird Flight
    43. Featherfall
    44. Noita (has a bird form)
    45. Down the Mountain
    46. Abode
    47. Pato Box
    48. Feathered Friends
    49. Bird Game +
    50. Beaky Skies
    1 Comment
    08:32 UTC


    What's the difference between juvenile and immature?

    I've heard these terms used interchangeably before, but I've also been told that they are different. Can someone help me understand the difference between immature and juvenile birds?

    00:50 UTC


    Normal molting season or something else?

    Hi everyone, I've been walking around Lake Michigan and have noticed that there seem to be dozens upon dozens of goose, seagull, and duck feathers floating I the water today. Despite me visiting this spot regularly and seeing plenty of birds I've never noticed this before. Is this normal molting or possibly something more depressing? There are a lot of boats moving around this area and I'm worried that maybe one of them hit some birds.. another thing adding to my suspicions is that I saw a deceased duckling in the water near the feathers :( Thoughts?

    22:51 UTC


    This dove nest has a discolored egg

    The janitors were setting up caution tape near the nest and the father left for a bit. I was able to take this picture and noticed 2 eggs have a different color than the third. Is this normal? For context it is a mourning (turtle) dove and the eggs are about halfway to hatching. The 3rd egg showed up a day or two after I saw the nest with 2 inside. Could it be another bird's egg, or is it sick or anything?

    21:32 UTC


    Robin's nest on porch, having party - what to do?

    We are having a graduation party in our backyard tomorrow. As I'm getting everything ready today, I noticed a robin's nest in a hydrangea tree right next to our deck. There is currently 1 egg in the nest and the mom is staying nearby. Our deck is on the small side (12'x14') and we have a canopy to provide shade. There is also patio furniture right next to the nest (within a foot). People will be sitting on the deck and in the yard and also playing yard games nearby. The party will be going on for 4 hours and I feel terrible that we will be disturbing the robin and her nest. We need to use the deck since it's main source of shade and it's supposed to be full sun and 90 degrees outside. Will the nest and mom be ok if we are nearby all day? I know I can't move the nest now that there is an egg. Thanks for the help!

    17:05 UTC


    Bird Egg Help

    Originally, there was a tunnel shaped and mossy nest here with no eggs. I came outside yesterday to find the next had been changed in design, with 1 of the larger eggs. I came out today and found an additional larger egg had been laid, but also the smaller egg was there. I'm thinking there will possibly be more eggs tomorrow, but I also wanted to identify these species.

    16:25 UTC


    Wild bird made a nest on my porch. Now there are two babies who are almost ready fly. What do I do?

    I haven't seen the mom in a couple of days.

    The nest is in a bag of hay which is in a plastic bag. I found one of the birds had fallen out. I also left food for the mom which she ate the first time, but the second time, it hasn't been touched. The babies have feathers and can flap but again, I haven't seen the mother. What to do?

    01:27 UTC


    Cardinal obsessed with our cars

    There is a male cardinal that has recently become obsessed with my husband's and my cars. We've been in our house for three years, but this only began about a month or two ago. The cardinal perches on the doors along the bottom of our windows and pecks relentlessly at the glass. He moves all around the car, pooping everywhere he goes. He perches on the sideview mirrors and poops there too.

    Can anyone give advice on why he's doing this and how to make him stop?

    00:52 UTC


    Bird mobbing and alarm calls

    I'm trying to learn more about bird mobbing calls, the RSPB says this on their website: "Mobbing usually starts with just one or two birds, but may attract a large number of birds, often of many species." Can anyone give me any specific examples of species that might work together like that? UK/Europe preferred. Thank you!

    1 Comment
    17:33 UTC



    Hello everyone! I am hoping that some of you guys can help educate me on the bands used for banding birds. I am specifically interested in the bands used for precocial birds (such as quails and piping plovers.) Are the bands used completely closed, open but later closed, split, or something else entirely? According to my research thus far, it seems that precocial birds are also banded as chicks, and they keep the band for the rest of their life. Please let me know any other information about banding, especially the specific type used! If you have any information about banding altricial birds, please share as well.

    Thank you in advance!

    17:16 UTC


    Am I wrong for getting mad at my neighbors next door?

    Mourning dove couple started building a nest on May 5. Mom and dad were dedicated parents and I’d always make sure they were ok every day. This past Monday I was gutted to find out that the apartment management dismantled entire nest, leaving one of the two fledglings alone on the floor, the other nowhere to be found. Neighbor came home and said “oh look he came back?” Looking at the poor baby bird alone on the floor. Asinine comment considering the baby was displaced directly by her ordering maintenance to remove the nest in the first place. I asked her “did you take down the nest?” She said “yeah because I didn’t like the poop on her light fixture”. I stayed silent, quietly judging her and asked my husband for a box to rescue the helpless fledgling. I went back out again fuming, baby bird was nowhere to be found, dove mom was in front of my apartment looking at me confused and lost. Felt terrible. Seemed like fledgling got spooked and fell somewhere from our third floor to first floor. Thankfully a little boy downstairs found the bird and kept it safe.

    After a lot of patience trying to reunite the entire family, I finally did and relocated them to a bush in the garden below. 2 fledglings, mom and dad. We had a heavy storm last night so I was hoping to see them in the morning safe and sound. Thankfully I did. They must have seeked shelter in the dense bush I put them in. Later in the afternoon I noticed the neighbors cleaning their wall with pure bleach and dumping all of it down below where I relocated the fledglings. You could still see them near a tree stump but I felt them dumping all the Clorox was too close for comfort. I was annoyed and asked them politely if they can be mindful where they’re dumping the bleach due to the baby birds being in the garden below. They got all mad and called the apartment management saying I was harassing them. Management lady came, gave me an earful and finally I said to them plain and simple that these birds are protected by the migratory bird act and tampering with an active nest is illegal. I told them as well that I was appalled in the manner the baby birds were dumped on the side and that they could have at least made an effort to relocate them in the garden below like I did. They didn’t seem to care which is not surprising. So anyway my husband is mad at me for bringing attention to our apartment and now thinks they will raise our rent in retaliation which is illegal as well but who knows in the city of Miami, where no one seems to care about anything.

    Update: Birdies are sunning on a bed of mulch with their wings spread out. Named them ALPHA & OMEGA. Reason I named them that is because it has a correlation to the bird haters ;)

    23:41 UTC


    Found two dead baby birds and eggs in my porch nest, what could they have died from?

    House finches made a nest on our apartment porch. We have still been going outside for a bit every 3 days or so, to relax and eat dinner, just for a couple of hours. They would usually get spooked and go away during that time.

    The last time I saw the birds hanging on the porch was yesterday, from inside the apartment.

    I heard no singing and saw no birds today. I had a “feeling”, and asked my partner to go up and take a video of the nest. There ended up being two dead babies, one smaller(starting to decompose) than the other. The other looked like it maybe died yesterday.

    There were also two eggs that were not hatched, but they were looking a bit off-colored. My partner said they were probably rotting.

    What could have caused them to die? They had ants on them when we found them, but they weren’t swarming, so I don’t think that killed them. I feel like I never noticed the parents with any food in their mouths when we saw them, maybe they starved?

    And why did we never hear baby birds crying? I also have been thinking about that for a couple of weeks.

    We are also wondering if us going on the porch sometimes might have contributed to it. Is it possible they will return to lay eggs again? The nest was there before we moved in and we chose to leave it up after burying the eggs and babies.

    Going on the porch is not an end-all. If that might be a contributor, we can survive not doing it anymore for the season.

    21:07 UTC


    American Robin?

    Hi. What appears to be an American Robin nest has appeared in my backyard (inside of a lamp fixture of all places) over the last few days and is seemingly unbothered by my enormous dog. I thought it was cute at first until I found out that when the baby birds are a few weeks old they spend a lot of time on the floor learning to walk, etc. My dog would absolutely eat them if that were to happen. Should I take the chance and attempt to be careful with taking my dog out after that hatch or should I attempt to move the nest?

    1 Comment
    20:39 UTC


    Help homing some barn swallows

    For the last ~3 weeks, a couple of barn swallows have been attempting to nest right above and across from our front door. Here you can see the cute little pair. And here you can see how close that pillar is to our front door.

    I am all for having them over- but I don't want them that close to the door. Mites, parasites, poop, etc., in that proximity to my front door is an absolute no go.

    I tried installing these nesting cups by our garage. They're at a similar height, also covered, same side of the house, etc., One is a little lower, in case they needed more/less space.

    However, the birds don't seem to care about them, and have continued trying to nest on the pillar.

    I'll be hanging up some wire to make their current favorite spot less appealing, but I was wondering if anyone knew how to make the nesting cups a bit more enticing? Is there food or material they'd like?

    I feel terrible every time I hose off the work they've done starting their nest and I'd like to give them somewhere else to go to, but it really can't be right there. And they seem very determined to stay nearby.

    19:27 UTC


    Bluejay and cardinal pair

    We have unshelled peanuts in our backyard. There's a large population of blue jays in the area that frequent our feeder. One blue jay in particular is always accompanied by a male cardinal. Every day for several weeks, I've observed them together. I have even seen them on the same branch SEEMINGLY singing back and forth. Has anyone ever experienced seeing a blue jay and cardinal pair like this? They appear to be both males which is even more unusual.

    19:07 UTC


    Alright for some!

    16:08 UTC


    Help this young song thrush is sitting there since hours

    Found this young song thrush in my yard its sitting there since hours. What should I do? Should I let it sit there? It is not moving.

    16:00 UTC


    Fledgling Cardinal on our Deck

    One of the fledgling cardinals has left the nest by our deck and it is fully feathered.

    However it is on our deck which will have part shade during the day but it looks like it wants to be in the yard.

    The deck has fencing so our elderly cat can go out there but not get into the yard.

    I’ve locked the cat door, not that he would do anything to the bird, lol.

    My question: should I open the gate and let the fledgling wander into the yard or just let dad continue to raise it on the deck?

    14:47 UTC


    birds in the factory

    The place I work has several dock doors open to the North and a few to the South. The Northside doors are about 100ft from an interstate and there are some trees and bushes in between. We have these orange nets hanging in the doorways to persuade the birds not to fly in, but we still get a few starlings and swallows every day. Is there any way to convince the birds to leave without killing them? Finding them dead among the machines is really depressing and cleaning up bird poop is no fun. One of the guys suggested putting up a bunch of birdhouses nearer the trees across the parking lot, but nobody's sure that'd keep 'em out vs. bringing more in. (I said it was worth a try...)

    Is there a device to let birds out but not in, and how do we explain to them there's no food in here?


    13:29 UTC


    Baby geese SOS

    There is a family of geese nearbyit started with 6 goslings 2 weeks ago. They are losing one a week to a land predator. This time it was clear what happened because there was a struggle and Dad put up a great fight losing so many feathers. They only 4 left. The pond is surrounded by woods. I want to help keep the remaining 4 alive desperately. The parents are so sad. Any advice on how to help them, or deter predators would be appreciated. RIP to the two who were taken.

    23:28 UTC


    What Happened to this Say's Phoebe Nest?


    A Say's Phoebe nested on my front step this year. It laid 5 eggs, and the eggs had hatched. Today, when I came outside the nest looked partially destroyed.

    My first thought was that maybe in order to let the chicks fledge more easily the parents destroyed part of the nest so they could get out easier.

    Then when I came home later the nest was even more destroyed than it was initially (the pictures are after I came home and saw the nest the second time).

    After this my earlier hypothesis didn't make sense; why would the parents come back and disassemble the nest further? I did some reading on birds that replace their nest every year, but it wouldn't make sense for them to dismantle the nest right away. Why invest that energy up front before the next breeding season?

    So now in my mind I can see two possibilities:

    1. A predator found and raided the nest (this seems unlikely to me since the nest is pretty well hidden and in an area with a lot of human activity).

    2. The chicks fledged and the parents are trying for another brood, dismantling the nest to try another location. Though unless the fledglings can feed themselves immediately it seems like it would be difficult for the parents to move nest while also feeding fledglings and laying new eggs.

    Or maybe it's a combination of 1 and 2? The nest was raided by a predator which caused the parents to try for a new brood?

    23:21 UTC


    Will parents abandon their fledgling with a broken leg?

    For a couple of days I've been watching some rook fledglings in the park near my home and one of them has a broken leg. It's not an open fracture, its leg is still working but it makes him very clumsy and it probably hurts. He fledgling looks pretty active as if it keeps getting fed but compared to other fledgling it doesn't look too good. I haven't seen his parents approach him once, but I also haven't seen them approach other fledgling. When I get close to it, I get noises from other rooks, but it's unclear to me if they are worried for this one or for others. So my questions is if parents usually abandon fledglings like that? Does it have any chance to survive? Should I try to save it?

    P.S. In my country there's no law regulation concerning birds nor there's any wildlife rehabilitation centers for birds or bird veterinarians that would deal with corvids.

    20:05 UTC


    I know I pronounce it weird, but I got to see some Harlequin Ducks float in front of a mother moose with twins. Neat nature moment.

    16:39 UTC


    Bird Nest Help

    Hello everyone! We recently had two little brown birds make a nest in our wreath and we have zero issues with that. We’ve been careful going in and out of our front door and they have laid five eggs in the nest!

    Unfortunately, we just had a crow swoop in and break part of the wreath in attempt to get the birds and eggs. Luckily, the parents are fine and so are the eggs. The parents returned to the nest and so far so good. However, I wanted to beef up the wreath a bit to help protect the nest but at the same time not disturb the parents and eggs.

    I have tried googling different ways to protect the nest but all the results seem to tell me how to prevent nests from starting, not how to protect them. So my question is how do I help protect this nest? Can I use sticks and create a barrier big enough to keep the crow out but leave enough room for the parents to fly in and out? Maybe some netting with a space large enough for the parents to go in and out of? Please give me some ideas.

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

    13:26 UTC

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