About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby bird ID

Many bird parents show their fledglings where to find food and how to eat from feeders. But how do you know if it is an adult or this year’s offspring? Here are some clues to look and listen for at your feeders.

Having a Shadow
Watch for one or more birds closely following or outright chasing a parent. This often occurs in the first two weeks after leaving the nest.

Incessant Chatter
When hungry, many fledglings harass their parents with an incessant "feed me." These can be single or double noted calls that sound like squeaks or chip notes. Chickadees and goldfinches are notorious for incessant feeding chatter.

Body Positioning
A fledgling may beg with its mouth open toward the parent. A juvenile may also move its head side to side and flutter its wings to get its parents' attention.

A Motley Crew
Fledglings are still growing out their feathers so they can appear very mottled or slightly fuzzy. There are often spots or streaks on the head, back, breast and/or flanks until the feathers are fully grown.

No “End” in Sight
Tail feathers are usually the last to fully grow. Young birds' tail feathers can appear very short or it can look like a bird has no tail.

Source: WBU Corpoate Content

2 comments:

JosephAlsarraf said...

I know what you mean about the whining. I just signed up to be a baby bird volunteer and we have to act like it's mother and feed them through tweezers. We know when they start squeaking that their hungry. Thanks for the info! : )

Kate/Massachusetts said...

Timely post!!! Recently a baby cardinal with no tail showed up at our feeder. I wondered if that was normal. He flew spastically like a butterfly...but he did fly! He keeps coming back, but he sure looks odd!