I just watched a mother goldfinch jam food into the beak of her teeny-bopper son, who, by the way, looked big enough to go out and get his own seeds for brunch.
For the chickadee and nuthatch, there’s the impressive labor of flying each seed to a branch to pound it open before gulping. (It appears that birds do not chew, so how much pleasure can there be as reward for the work?).
The cardinals aren’t that private or skittish, but there’s still the pounding to go through.
Of course those appealing birds must fight through the hoards of sparrows and squirrels, as common and aggressive as mice.
All of that reminded me of the injured hummingbird video a friend sent yesterday.
YouTube - Peter & Peeps -- Rescued Baby Hummingbird Fed in Hand by Mother
It’s very much a feel-good story, but both the hummer and the goldfinch moms reminded me of the earnest vigor in the parents’ feeding, the avian variation on the old slang, "gag me with a spoon." It really looks like a brief attack on the young, their punishment for begging so shamelessly.
Maybe I’ll remember all this next time.
And as great provider (father?) to all these urchins, there is of course the issue of how much is going on that I don’t see—nurturing, sharing, cuddling, predation, itching, illness, death. About what am I absolutely clueless and how much of it is there?