Bird Baby Boom!

We’ve reached that time of year when fledglings begin to appear, and over the past week we have seen a number of young birds from a number of species, some in and some out of their nests.

I’ll start with the birds we saw in the nest, and possibly the most exciting of the species; the House Martins, whose nest was nestled below an overhanging roof. The two chicks tucked inside were relatively old and looked as though they were close to fledging, and were both squeezed up to the edge of the nest, peering out at us staring at them from below.

young House Martins
young House Martins showing the gape

In the photo above, you can see the wide gape of the House Martin chick. The gape of the young birds are particularly interesting. It is believed that the colour or patterns of the gape are an indication of the health of the chick. This therefore helps the parent birds to decide how to share the food they bring back to the nest. Studies have shown that gape colour also induces feeding, particularly red gape colour. There's more to these chicks than first meets the eye.

The next young birds we came across were fledgling Blackcaps. We were alerted to their presence by squeaking coming from a nearby tree. The two fledglings were sat very close to the path on a low-lying branch, looking very vulnerable. Their parents were obviously nearby, as the two young birds were calling almost constantly. They didn't move from their position for quite a while, allowing us to take some photos. The fledglings obviously weren't overly confident fliers, as they only took to the air briefly and didn't fly very far; only across the path and into nearby vegetation.

Young female Blackcap
Young female Blackcap - looking very vulnerable!

The next two species are probably the easiest to see youngsters from, as the fledglings will often feed from garden feeder. We came across a young Blue Tit and a young Great Tit feeding from the same feeder just outside the visitor centre of a Suffolk nature reserve. These birds are, as I said, a common visitor to feeders in gardens across the country, so it is likely that you too will be seeing fledglings from these two species in the next few weeks.

young Great Tit 
young Blue Tit

So, as you can see, this time of year is great for spotting young birds, whether that is in nests or out in the open. And they're easy to come across - we didn't go out looking for the above birds; they were simply around when we were. So despite the relatively poor weather we have seen in the past few weeks, it seems many birds' nests have been successful, and evidence of this is all around in the shape of young birds.

Comments

  1. Lovely photos and blog! Been really enjoying watching the fledglings. We've got sparrows and blackbirds in the garden and they're adorable!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind comments and for reading my blog! June/July is probably my favourite time of year - made better by the fledglings flying around!

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