• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

FAQ

Question of the Week

Q. Do young birds recognize their parents after they've grown up?

A. Most birds do not recognize their family members after their first year. There are exceptions to this, especially among social birds such as cranes, crows, and jays. Canada Geese also remember their parents, and may even rejoin their parents and siblings during winter and on migration.

On the other hand, Black-capped Chickadee fledglings scatter in autumn, and each one joins a different winter flock from its siblings and parents. Mallards and grouse do imprint on their parents, but there is no evidence that they recognize their parents or family members after their first year.

Past Questions of the Week

Q. I found a songbird nest with two different types of eggs in it. What is going on?

Q. I found a nest with eggs in it and no adult birds seem to be attending to it. I think it's abandoned, or I scared the parents away. What should I do?

Q. Why do birds leave the nest before they can fly?

Q. How can I protect the baby birds in a nest from predatory birds and other predators like snakes and cats?

Q. What's the best recipe for hummingbird nectar?

Q. I found a nest near my house and want to observe it but I am worried about disturbing it. Can you give me any advice?

Q. I found a baby bird. What should I do?

Q. There's a bird nesting near my house. What should I do?

Q. I’m getting married next month. Is it true that rice causes birds’ stomachs to explode?

Q. What's good nesting material to offer birds?

Q. What is a “Big Day”?

Q. How can I keep birds from hitting my windows?

Q. I often see birds on telephone wires while I’m driving—how do I figure out what they are from such a short glimpse?

Q. Why do woodpeckers like to hammer on houses? And what can I do about it?

Q. I live in a high-rise apartment in the city. How can I attract birds?

Q. There's a bird in my yard I've never seen before. How can I find out what it is?

Q. I’m getting a little tired of winter—What are some of the first spring birds to arrive, and when will they get here?

Q. Why do birds have such elaborate and varied courtship rituals?

Q. How can Bald Eagles survive in northern areas after all the lakes have frozen?

Q. How long do wintering Snowy Owls stay with us before they return to their breeding grounds?

Q. Are cardinals brighter in winter?

Q. Will birds use nest boxes to roost in for warmth during the winter?

Q. There's a hummingbird at my feeder in the dead of winter. Will he be okay?

Q. Is it unusual to see American Robins in the middle of winter?

Q. How do birds survive in very cold temperatures?

Q. Why don't birds get cold feet?

Q. Do birds store food for the winter?

Q. What can you tell us about the habitat associations of partridges and in particular whether pear trees are ever involved?

Q. A hawk has started hunting the feeder birds in my yard. What can I do?

Q. How much do birds eat each day?

Q. Where did the domestic turkey come from?

Q. I thought geese migrated south in the winter and north in the summer. Why did I just see a flock of Canada Geese flying in the "wrong" direction?

Q. Why do migratory birds crash into buildings at night and how can people prevent it from happening?

Q. Where can I go to watch hawk migration?

Q. How do birds prepare for long migrations?

Q. Should I stop feeding birds in fall so they can start their migration?

Q. What is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act?

Q. I’m seeing fewer birds in my yard. Is something affecting their populations?

Q. Sometimes I see little birds going after a big bird. Why do they do this?

Q. My feeders are being overrun with pigeons and blackbirds who eat all the food and keep the smaller birds away. What can I do?

Q. How can I share my bird photos with the Lab?

Q. How do I keep the squirrels in my yard away from my feeders and bird seed?

Q. Where can I go to watch hawk migration?

Q. Should I stop feeding hummingbirds in the fall so that they will migrate?

Q. After birds leave a nest, can I clean out the nest for future use?

Build a Birdhouse
Birds of North America Online