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May 2008


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Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 9 May 2008 13:11:22 -0400
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Very interesting thought.  It's a little confusing, though, to 
figure out in this circumstance who's doing the dominating and 
who's doing the submission.

Since food begging is only done by juveniles and females, 
wouldn't that be more likely to be the submissive behavior? 
Making yourself look smaller and weaker-- in this case by 
hunching down and letting your wings droop-- is the way 
submissive critters demonstrate to potential aggressors of the 
same species that they are no threat.

Your implication is surely right that it's the Bluejay's behavior 
that is, um, inventive, where the WP is pretty much responding 


Gregory Askew wrote:

> What if King Jay was simply exacting tribute from his minion, woodpecker,
> with the promise not to eat her eggs this season?
> On a serious note, I wonder if there's evidence of interspecific
> relationships of domination and submission, especially given the
> intelligence and well-documented sociality of the corvids.
> Greg
> Vergennes
> On 5/9/08, Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>I've not seen any newly fledged birds yet, including Bluejays, and they're
>>pretty hard to miss, especially the food begging noise!
>>In the case of my two confused birds, misplaced courtship seems to me more
>>likely what was going on with the Bluejay, and one can't blame the Bluejay
>>for not recognizing that the woodpecker it was displaying to was a female,
>>nor the woodpecker for mistaking courtship begging for fledgling begging, I
>>Still, very peculiar.
>>June Schulte wrote:
>>>Has anyone seen newly fledged birds yet?
>>>I sent Jane's question about the Bluejay being fed suet by a Downy
>>>Woodpecker to
>>>my son who is a wildlife biologist, and below is his take on it.   ~ June
>>>in Jericho
>>>My guess is that this is a recently fledged blue jay and the downy
>>>woodpecker has young back in the nest. The blue jay is begging to anything
>>>it sees that has food and the downy woodpecker's feeding response is
>>>triggered by the behavior since it is geared up to feed babies at the
>>>moment. Birds are usually triggered to feed their young by the begging sound
>>>and the sight of the bright yellow/orange/red lining of the mouth of young
>>>birds. I guess this is just one overstimulated woodpecker. Pretty funny.
>>> The only other option is that female blue jays will display like that to
>>>males as part of the courtship display, but I doubt one would do that to a