Do young birds recognize their parents after they’ve grown up?

April 1, 2009
While it appears that many species do not recognize family members after the first year, others stay in close association. These Canada Geese goslings remember their parents, and may even rejoin their parents and siblings during winter and on migration. Photo by Roger Kirchen via Birdshare. While it appears that many species do not recognize family members after the first year, others stay in close association. These Canada Geese goslings remember their parents, and may even rejoin their parents and siblings during winter and on migration. Photo by Roger Kirchen via Birdshare.
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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.

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