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Submitted By

Glenda Simmons

Tallahassee, FL, United States


I observed this, juvenile, Eastern Bluebird, from the previous brood, helping feed it’s younger siblings for 6 days, prior to their fledging. The first time, I witnessed this I thought, perhaps, it was a one time event, since the mealworms happened to be close by, but then saw the juvenile fly to the ground, where he plucked a spider from the grass, taking it back to feed the nestlings, inside the box. After this brood fledged, I continued to see the helper come to a mealworm feeder,I put out in the evenings, and take worms up to a large Oak Tree, where this pair, always led their young for safe keeping the first week, so he, definitely, was a good helper! I knew this behavior occurred, but I have only witnessed it once in 10 years of monitoring.


Eye Witness

The Helper

Recent Comments (5)

  • Emily says:

    Great shot! I’ve observed the same behavior in Western Bluebirds this season, and some older siblings continued feeding the younger ones after the latter are fledged.

  • Wings42 says:

    Wonderful. With all the horrible news of humanity killing humanity, this is so uplifting. Thanks.

  • Joanne says:

    It is indeed uplifting — heartwarming – and something to show children — think how that conversation among the children would be.

  • Laura says:

    What a beautiful shot of nature! I never knew juveniles would help feed a brood. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mary Miller says:

    I love your two pictures of the juvenile bluebirds–the one with 4 young and the mother, and the juvenile helping feed the young. Would you give me permission to use either or both in my bluebird presentation? I monitor a 51 box bluebird trail in Hillsborough County and give frequent presentations to civic clubs, Audubon chapters, schools, etc. Your pictures would be a great addition to my talk and I would certainly give you credit on the photos.
    Thanks for your consideration of this request.

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