Parker County Today May 2016 - Page 55

Young birds also begin to learn their specie’s calls and songs about this time. They will begin to imitate the sounds of the parents, albeit with cracking, wobbly voices. With practice, the contact notes and alarm calls become clearer, until they’re actually useful as communication tools. Social behaviors are also learned early. Pecking order is im­portant in the bird world, and babies are taught, sometimes a bit rudely, what their status is at the feeder. Reprimands generally elicit more juvenile behavior (open-mouthed wing quivering, designed to trigger parental instincts to fill that gaping maw). Like parents of all species, adult birds put up with juvenile behavior long enough to ensure their kids will grow up to be strong, capable, attractive adults who can carry on the family name (or at least the family genes). And, like kids every­where, the youngsters push the envelope of decorum and good taste. Next time you see a screaming kid at your feeder, enjoy the satisfaction of helping busy parents feed their kids. MAY 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY 53