Annual Fledgling Post

Every year at this time, I’m surprised and heartened by the number of fledgling birds I see. The odds are against the nesting birds and their chicks. Springtime weather can be brutally variable. And the woods are full of birds and other animals that love to feast on eggs and baby birds. Yet, many triumph. Some by luck. Some by extremely protective parents. Some by ruses (I’m looking at you, Cowbirds).

Speaking of predators, here’s a Red-shouldered Hawk I saw gliding through the understory. It was an odd place for a Red-shouldered; more a place for Cooper’s Hawks. When I processed the pictures I realized why; from the white breast and ermine-like spots, this is quite a young bird. It was probably still figuring out this flying thing.

I (and a number of other people I see in the morning) have been watching a Red-bellied Woodpecker hole by the south bridge. There was a lot of coming and going, and calling, but nothing ever seemed to happen (cover picture). However, just off the north bridge, in a tree that I had previously seen a Flicker’s hole (further up), I saw activity from another Red-bellied Woodpecker pair. At this hole, I saw the female lean in, then, when she backed off, a little head darted out. For several days I saw the little one pictured below. Activity has now stopped around the hole, so I believe the little one fledged.

This is one of three fledgling White-breasted Nuthatches I saw a week ago or so. Notice how it’s already quite comfortable facing down the tree and holding on with its feet.

This is one of three Brown Thrasher fledglings I saw the same day as the Nuthatches. Their momma was working hard to get them all fed. You can see her, out of focus, in the foreground.

Finally, earlier this week a number of us saw this Mallard hen with ten(!) ducklings. We haven’t seen her since, but she’s probably in the woods along a creek somewhere close by.

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