Posts tagged: fledgling songbirds

Babes in the Woods

By , July 11, 2017

The many songbird fledglings around us are leaving their nests, turning our homestead into an avian nursery.

I first noticed a gang of Pacific wrens moving across the beach as if on a commando mission. I don’t recall seeing these birds in larger groups than pairs. These kids were loud and careless, a sure sign that they’re fledglings (see Baby Birds). Soon, they began flitting around under foot, passing slowly within arm’s reach without seeming to notice the potential danger.

Hummingbird activity has increased exponentially as the youngsters try out their moves on each other.

Then there are the attempts at singing. Aly came in the other day, commenting that a varied thrush in the dooryard “lacked the courage of it convictions” as it practiced its specie’s telephone trill. These learned calls sound more like questions than assertions (see Singing Lessons).

The birds provide entertainment, but we’ve become wary as we hike through the forest. Word has it that a moose cow has been sited on the peninsula with a pair of twin calves. That’s double trouble until they move on, if they eventually choose to do so.

Baby Birds

By , July 7, 2013

We sensed a shift in the bird world a week or so ago when we started seeing hermit thrushes again. We confirmed the shift when we began to be overrun by this species, named and known for its shy secretiveness.

We’ve heard their songs in the forest and yard since they started staking out their territory earlier in the summer, but as they settled to nesting, we saw less of them. Suddenly, that changed, and they hopped and ran about the yard, stirring the ground cover, looking for insects.

A few days later, we were overrun with fledgling thrushes. Chubby, slightly scruffy in their changing plumage, and very short-tailed, these youngsters are incredibly entertaining. Comical, clumsy, and careless, they explore the grounds with an appearance of wide-eyed wonder, barely aware of us, unless compelled to flee from underfoot.

One of the many fledgling hermits on the property (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

One of the many fledgling hermits on the property (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

When Michelle arrived home the other night, she found one of these children of the forest exploring the trail where it comes down from the ridge. She squatted down to watch it. It hopped closer to her, until it stood beneath her, between her knees!

Meanwhile, above their heads, the hummingbird fledglings dogfight for control of the feeders and practice courtship displays. The other day I watched, spellbound (and, alas, cameraless) as a young pair played. She lit on a branch and watched attentively as he hovered above her head, flashing his tail fan. It looked like the tenderest love story performed as a ballet.

In a week or so, we’ll likely start hearing bad imitations of bird songs as the new generation learns them (see Singing Lessons). The “floorshow” will continue for a while longer, we hope.

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