Photographer's Note

Some of the behavioural patterns of animals are instinctive, which means they are inherited, in their genes. This goes for both simple and for more complex patterns like for instance mating behaviour.

Instinctive behaviour takes on different expressions for the different species. For instance eating behaviour of birds. Finding the right kind of food is learned, while how to eat is mostly instinctive.

The fellow in the picture is a very young great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) who has just learned how to fly. The fact this is a juvenile is shown by the red cap, that will disappear after 3-4 months. Two days before this image was taken the youngster was brought to the feeding place by his mother, who showed him this was food by actually putting it in his mouth! Later he came on his own to eat…

Woodpeckers use the tail for support when pecking, this is to achieve more impact. The use of tail is instinctive, and the bird in the image tries the best he can! However he has yet to learn that the tail must find some counter support for the whole idea to work!

The correct eating behaviour in this situation is shown by the adult male in the workshop image.

Hopefully you got an idea of the difference between learned and instinctive behaviour, both shown in this moment in nature…

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Additional Photos by Pablo Minto (pablominto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9892 W: 315 N: 14432] (53746)
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