Sunday, June 10, 2012

Young birds

Unless we find a nest, we generally don't see baby altricial birds - those born without feathers, unable to walk (or of course fly), and needing lots parental care. We see the precocial ones - ducklings, gosling, killdeer (killfawn?), and the like - the one who run around feeding themselves, with parental care, of course, but less of it. (Though a gander like the one in College Park definitely watches over his babies from day one.) This means it's always a bit odd when the altricial ones fledge out and start showing up in public, being fed by parents the same size as them; they always look like they should be taking care of themselves, when in truth they're just built to grow big enough to fly as quickly as possible, so they won't stay trapped in the nest, vulnerable to predators finally finding them. Here are some youngsters - first, the whole goose family, parents and goslings now fully fledged - they've raised all five this year. Then a robin, showing his speckled thrush breast in his first, juvenile plumage. Next up, three barn swallows on a branch over the pond, waiting for their parents to catch a bug and bring it - one parent's there in the second shot. And finally, two red-winged blackbirds calling for their breakfast, and, in the second shot, their mother having brought something.

Canada goose family

juvenile robin

juvenile barn swallows

juvenile barn swallows with parent

juvenile red-winged blackbirds

juvenile red-winged blackbirds with mother

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