A Funny Bird Is ...

A Funny Bird Is ...


  • A Funny Bird Is ...

Published Date

  • published 1940


fishing trip. The parents, assisted by their own young, drive these
would-be robbers away; striking them with their bills. However, after
the offspring begin to feed, the outsiders never interfere but stand aside
and gloomily witness the meal.

Dr. Frank M. Chapman, in U. S. Bulletin 121, p. 298, describes
an interesting performance in this respect:

"The parent does not, of course, always have to fight its way
through a mob to feed its offspring. Often only a bird or two is to be
driven off and on such occasions the rightful young assist, the method of
attack employed by both being thrusts of the bill from which no harm
appears to follow. The actions of the rejected young bird are remarkable.
With the air of an only son, he prances confidently up to the food-
bearing adult and without so much as by your leave attempts to insert his
bill. When however, he receives a blow when he expected a fish, his
demonstrations of disappointment are uncontrolled. He acts like a bird
demented, swinging his head from side to side, biting one wing and
whirling around to bite the other in the most ludicrous manner.

"It is inexplicable that the same performance, in an exaggerated
degree, is gone through with by the bird which has been permitted to
feed after it emerges from the parent's pouch. For a moment it seems
dazed, perhaps because of lack of air as well as by the size of the meal it
has secured. It lays its head on the ground as though it had received a
violent blow, but soon this apparent semiconsciousness is followed by the