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Flying Colors: Mother’s Day

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Flying Colors is a sponsored column on the hobby of backyard bird feeding written by Michael Zuiker, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Visit the store at 2437 N. Harrison Street or call 703-241-3988.

There are 365 days in the year. My mom worked 376 days in the year raising me and my brothers and sisters. So how is it we only celebrate one lousy measly day for MOM? Seems a little unfair to me. We should celebrate every day — because Moms do a lot and are always out there for us.

Guess what? The Bird Moms of your backyards also do a lot. They are ever active this time of Spring with laying eggs, hatching chicks, feeding them and then getting them fledged and out of the nest. It is fascinating to be able to observe all this behavior right in your back and front yards.

We are very lucky because Bird moms come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Here are some of the most fascinating behaviors from around the world of mother birds.

  • Most Talented Mom — It takes as many as 12 days for a female Oriole to weave her nest. One Baltimore Oriole was observed spending 40 hours interlacing her basket-like nest. It included over 10,000 stitches and thousands of knots, all done by mom’s talented beak.
  • Most Loyal Mom — A pair bond may form between a male and a female Carolina Wren at any time of the year. She will stay with him for life, always foraging and moving around within sight of her mate.
  • Quickest Mom — Black-capped Chickadees have one of the shortest incubation periods of all birds. Their eggs can hatch in as little as 11 days.
  • Trickiest Mom — By singing a “male” song, the female Black-headed Grosbeak can trick her mate into thinking a rival male is nearby, forcing him to stay close to the nest.
  • Supersized Mom — Sharp-shinned Hawk females average over 40% larger than their male counterparts. This size difference is the largest of all of North American birds of prey.
  • Mini-Mom — A mother hummingbird weighs only about eight times more than the eggs she lays.
  • Most Overworked Mom — Mourning Dove moms may raise up to six broods per year, more than any other native North American bird.
  • Most Laid-back Mom — Unlike most other bird moms, robins do not lay their eggs at sunrise. They lay their eggs several hours later during the mid-morning. Since earthworms are easier to find during early morning, they feed first and then return to the nest to lay their eggs.
  • Most Devoted to Mom — Young Tufted Titmice often remain with their parents throughout their first winter. They have been known stay with mom into the next nesting season and help her to raise the next brood.
  • One Cold & Small Mom — The Rufous Hummingbird nests in Alaska
  • The Last Mom — American Goldfinch moms are one of the last songbirds to nest each year, waiting until mid-to-late summer when thistle seeds and down are readily available

So why not help out the moms of this world? Stop in and grab your mom a fancy new feeder, a pair of earrings or chimes. If you grab mom a feeder she can enjoy a relaxing morning watching the birds feed their babies. It’s a win-win mom moment!

Moms also need water — we have some beautiful new birdbaths in stock, you can add a dripper or a mister and watch those little babies learn to bathe. Whatever you do this Mother’s Day, make sure to remember to get mom something special!

If you’re a mom who is reading this, stop on in and treat yourself to whatever you want! 😉 Or leave your kids a giant photo of a feeder and we will help them out!

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