Posts Tagged ‘baby birds’

Join Nestwatch and Help Nesting Birds

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
Join Nestwatch and Help Nesting Birds

Nobody knows better than you what goes on in the nests in your backyard. If you are curious about the birds nesting in your yard and pay particular attention to

Kestrel_nestbox
Photo Credit: Stan Tekeila

them, Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a great project called Nestwatch that can use your help. They have a list of birds which include Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, House Finch, Carolina Chickadee, Mourning Dove and many others. Chances are at least one of these birds is nesting in your yard! If you are someone who regularly checks nestboxes, this might be the perfect project for you to take the info you discover about how many eggs, when they are laid, nest success, etc., and send it to Cornell. They use this information to get a better picture of the success and failure rates of nests and nesting habits of different species.

Information like this is particularly important as birds are a barometer for what’s going on in our environment. So, check it out and see if you might become someone who helps backyard birds even more than you do by just sending in the information you already have. It’s a great project to do with kids as well, as they will have the chance to watch and record nesting from start to fledging. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

Nestcams!

Monday, February 20th, 2017
NESTCAMS!

explore_hummingbird_nestcam
explore.org hummingbird nestcam
New nests to watch!

See updates on nests you saw last month and see some new nests we are watching now.  Have a favorite nest cam?  Let us know about it!

Laysan Albatross, Hawaii – who can resist these beautiful birds and their chicks?

Red-tailed Hawks, New York – watch them building the nest

Bermuda CahowBermuda – watch a rarely seen petrel nesting

Bald Eagle, Florida

Allens/Rufous hybird HummingbirdCalifornia



A Day at the Beach

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
A Day at the Beach

What could be more summer-like than a day at the beach? Who doesn’t love having fun in the water and on the sand? And the beach is a popular spot for wildlife as well. Terrapins cross busy streets to get from the marsh to

piping_plover_chick
Piping Plover chick

the sandy shores to lay their eggs, then return home across those same busy streets; horseshoe crabs lay their thousands of eggs along the shoreline, and eating the eggs gives long-distance flying shorebirds the energy they need to complete their migration; Osprey and terns ply the waters close to shore, diving for food; beach nesting birds lay their perfectly camouflaged eggs in the sand

and raise their equally camouflaged young there.  On beaches, there’s a lot going on! And it might not be a surprise to know that birds that use our shores face some big challenges.

Next time you’re at the beach, take a careful look around. All beach nesting birds, like the oystercatchers below,  lay eggs directly on a little shallow in the sand. For their protection from predators, these eggs all blend in perfectly with the sand, as do the teeny chicks who when hatched, are extremely difficult to see. Many areas where birds nest on the beach are roped off so they can enjoy a zone away from the rest of us enjoying the same real estate.

Want to help beach-nesting birds?  Here are some things you can do:
If you see a nesting area that has been roped off, don’t enter it for any reason.  The eggs or chicks, if they have hatched, could be anywhere.  Plus, the adults have a difficult time herding their precocial chicks, and see everything that moves as a potential predator — including pets.  Even if your dog is on a lead and outside the nesting area, his presence can distract the adults who may
oystercatcher and chick at beach
American Oystercatcher and chick on beach

feel they need to leave their chicks to defend against a passing dog. This might lead to an opening a gull or crow has been waiting for to grab an unattended  chick.  Plus some birds, like Piping Plovers, need to safely escort their chicks to the water’s edge multiple times each day to feed them. A busy beach is a challenging place for a beach nesting bird! If you are respectful, they will stand a much better chance of successfully raising their young.


The beach is a great place to spend hot summer days, and its also a terrific place to see wildlife.  Enjoy the beach and be respectful of the wild birds and other animals with which we share it.  This is the best way to ensure they will be there in the future for all of us to continue to enjoy.

More Nestcams!

Friday, May 27th, 2016
More Nestcams!

arctic_tern_chick_nestcam


‘Tis the season!
Birds are still nesting, and this month, there are a few new nestcams including

Atlantic Puffins, Arctic Terns, Allen’s Hummingbird, Peregrine Falcons, Osprey and Double-crested Cormorants.

atlantic_puffins_nestcam

NEW nests with lots of chicks and behavior to watch!

CATCH UP on what’s happening with the chicks:

More Nestcams!

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
More Nestcams
long-eared_owlets
We can never get enough of nestcams! Nesting season continues with new great views of nesting condors, lots of Great-horned Owlets, and this nest of seven seriously adorable Long-eared Owlets.

NEW nests with lots of chicks to watch!

CATCH UP on what’s happening with the chicks:

NESTCAMS!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
NESTCAMS!
It’s that time of year again!allens_hummingbird_nestcam_explore
Get a front row seat and the best view of these early nesters from across the US and  Hawaii  — hummingbirds, albatross and some very cool raptors:

Making That First Migration

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Making That First Migration

Young birds are leaving the nest, and many of them are getting ready for their first trip south. Migration is a hard and risky business for any bird, but the first marathon voyage for many species of birds takes place shortly after they have fledged. How do they do it?

rose_breasted_grosbeak_juvenile

Songbirds such as American Robins and this young Rose-breasted Grosbeak are born nearly naked and completely helpless. They remain in the nest while their parents work overtime to provide protein-rich insects and other food for their babies. When the chicks fledge, they have strong instincts that will guide them to their wintering grounds. They don’t need to follow their parents, although they often fly together on their first migration.

Crane chicks are born with fluffy down feathers and are precocial – meaning they are ready to go right away. They leave the nest and bravely follow their parents across marshes, fields and river banks, learning everything from them – from how to find food and avoid predators, to when and to where they are supposed to migrate. Unlike most birds that migrate, Sandhill and Whooping Cranes don’t instinctively know where to go on migration, and if they are not shown the way, captive bred birds remain where they were born.

Shorebirds are an extreme example of instinctive behavior. Similar to cranes, shorebirds are born with fluffy down feathers and are precocial. But, unlike cranes, they get very little help from their parents. After fledging, young shorebirds must fend entirely for themselves, and their parents usually leave for migration before their chicks. First-year shorebirds make incredibly long, sometimes multi-day, flights entirely on their own or with a few other first-year birds – none of whom have flown the route previously.

Baby Birds of Summer

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Baby Birds of Summer

Many species of birds have finished breeding and are starting south again. But some chicks are just hatching or are very young now. If you are talking a walk in the woods, now is a good time to be looking for baby turkeys, known aswild_turkey_chicks polts.  Depending on where you are, wild baby turkeys are seen starting in late June, but can be found into August.  Wild turkey families travel together and family groups are not difficult to see this time of year.  Sitting quietly is a great way to watch these birds as they forage for food on the forest floor — and they are a lot of fun to watch! Noisy too!

Apart from some Robins who might be nesting again this season, baby songbirds for the most part are either fledged, or finishing several days on the ground being fed american_goldfinch_familyby their parents before they start flying. But American goldfinches are nesting now as the arrival of their chicks is timed to coincide with when thistle seeds become available.  They nest very late in the summer season, and in early August, the north woods are filled with the sight of goldfinches on thistles eating the seeds.

At the beach, American Oystercatcher chicks are getting bigger and Skimmers are hatching.  These birds have the same color feathers (black and white) and beakskimmer_with_chicks (orange) and often share the same nesting areas, but are very different. (see our identification story below for how to tell them apart).  Black skimmer chicks can be difficult to see until they are a couple of weeks old as they tend to lie on the sand which is the same color as their feathers.  Oystercatcher chicks are feeding at the tideline with their parents now and are easy to see.

But the most unusual summer babies are Wood ducks.  These tree nesting ducks, when they are ready to leave the nest, jump out one at a time and fall to the ground — sometimes 10 feet or so!  Some are fortunate to have a nest over the water wood_duck_ducklings_fledgingso they fall right in and start swimming.  But the unlucky chicks whose nest is a distance from the water fall onto the forest floor and have to walk to the water.

Summer bird babies come in all species, shapes and sizes.  What summer chicks are seen where you are?   Whatever baby birds are around you, approach them with caution and keep a distance.  Be quiet so the parents or the chicks don’t feel stressed from your presence.  If the parents start making noise or hide the babies, that’s a signal for you to leave. Maybe step back a bit and use the binos. Just be respectful so the birds can feel comfortable to get on with the business of feeding and raising their chicks, and you can have more families to watch next year.

The Anxious Garden

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

There’s a lot of stress in my garden. This is not a good sign for a garden, but it’s the birds who are causing it. It took me awhile to figure out what was happening, but after listening to a day’s worth of anxious chirping by a female cardinal, I looked to see if there was a cat someone had let out or a pesky squirrel. No predators in sight. Soon I started hearing another sound. It was unfamiliar to me but definitely a bird – probably a baby of some kind. It seemed a little late to have baby birds in the garden, but I was willing to go along with it. After further investigation I discovered that the female Cardinal seemed very territorial and she did indeed have a baby – one who was just getting his red feathers in and looking pretty blotchy at that.

For our Cardinal the issue seems to be that there is a Mockingbird family in the garden as well, and she is not very happy about this. The male Cardinal does not seem to be terribly concerned, but the female is beside herself most of the day and exhausts most everyone who listens to her.

The Mockingbird parents are looking a little bedraggled themselves right now as they have a youngster who is food begging constantly and wearing them pretty thin – and who accounts for the other peeping sound.

The anxiety continues, although it seems rather one-sided as the Mockingbird seems to care very little about the Cardinal who is pretty upset about their proximity. Mother Cardinal seems to want a little more space for her and her baby to be together and that is not going to happen this late in the season with two young birds around. The Mockingbird, who showed his true colors as protector of the garden (you can check him out in fighting form a few blogs back as he attacked a Kestrel in Raptors on the Roof) seems unfazed by the Cardinal’s angst and spends his days feeding his voracious baby.

And the baby Cardinal…well…despite it all, he’s just a happy little thing!

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