Posture can tell a lot about who outranks whom at a backyard bird feeder.
With these two Hairy Woodpeckers (illustration above), the bird standing tall with neck outstretched to make its body look bigger is dominant. The woodpecker with its neck pulled in is submissive.
According to Sarah Wagner, an online instructor for the Cornell Lab’s Bird Academy, that body language translates into who gets to eat at the feeder: “Submissive birds may be displaced and fly away, missing out on a food resource. What may seem like a subtle behavior can have huge implications if that submissive bird is discouraged from feeding.”
To learn more about bird behavior, check out Bird Academy’s self-paced, online course Think Like a Bird: Understanding Bird Behavior.
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