Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Curious Question

I've been feeding the birds for a few weeks. We have sparrows, starlings and ring-necked doves who regularly wait for me to sprinkle seeds on the ground and on two picnic tables nearby. I have a question. The sparrows descend en mass to the seeds, peck once or twice, then ascend en mass back to the tree branches. They do this over and over and over! What signals the ascent? I know what signals the descent — the birdseed, but why do they fly up in a group? Sometimes there is one little sparrow who stays longer, till he notices the others have gone, then he joins them till they all fly back down again. Curious phenomenon!

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