I decided to share some photographs of baby birds in our back yard. We have an ultimate viewing spot for the birds. Our house is built on a slope (we are in the mountains after all) so our deck is on a second story, above the screened porch. And the porch is above a 12-foot space under the house. So the deck is parallel to the middle of the trees. We hang the bird feeders (five of them) on extended bars that hang several feet away from the deck railing. As a result, we can easily observe the birds, even while sitting on the deck. And I rarely sit there without having my camera at the ready.
I love all the birds, but I particularly love the fledglings. The parents will bring them to trees near the deck and feed them until they learn to fly to the feeders by themselves. And those first flights are entertaining indeed.
A little Downy Woodpecker sits perplexed on a branch. For the first time, the parent flew to the suet, grabbed a mouthful and then flew deep into the woods, leaving the fledgling all alone. It was time for the little bird to make its way to the suet.
"Where did mama go?"
The Red-bellied Woodpecker brings the fledgling to a tree to prepare for a feeding. Notice that there is no red on the head of the little one (on the right) and how well it is camouflaged against the tree.
It's a bit difficult to tell from this picture, but I think the parent is female.
The red on the head seems broken by a streak of white.
For obvious reasongs, we do not have Barn Swallows in our woods. However, our community has four lakes, the largest of which is near our house. And where you have lakes and bridges or other structures you will usually find Barn Swallows. I love to watch them skimming the lake surface for insects. And I also love their muddy nests and the little clown-faced nestlings. So I go down to check on their progress often.
Not a great picture, but they a skittish when people are around.
And what would a bird post be without our favorite birds, the Pileated Woodpeckers. We have several nesting pairs in our woods despite the fact that they are said to be territorial. And we are delighted to see them being fed. We can tell when they have eggs or nestlings because we see the adults come to the feeder and eat, then grab a chunk of suet to take to the nest. At first the fledglings are fed deep in the woods. Gradually they bring them closer to the bird feeders to feed them. The "little" ones are the same size as the parents when they are brought to the feeders.
Mother bird is at the top with the bad-hair-day fledgling below
These represent only a few of the baby birds we see several times a year. We have always been bird watchers so this deck has been a special place to us.
There are so many wonderful quotes about birds, it is difficult to choose which to post. So I will post two of them.
The first is from another of my heroes, David Attenborough:
"Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?"
(BTW: If you have never seen his PBS documentary on eggs, it is worth a search. Amazing and well-done. I promise you will learn a lot.)
The second quote comes from Victor Hugo:
"Be as a bird perched on a fragile branch that she feels bending beneath her.
Still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings."
HAVE A MOST WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
PAUSE AND LISTEN TO THE BIRDS
AND SING EVEN ON A FRAGILE BRANCH