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Monday, July 07, 2014

Fledgling Birds! What you should know.

Baby American Robins about to fledge and leave the nest.

This is a very busy time of year for birds. They have nested and now many have fledglings that are out of the nest. In many cases, fledglings birds are fed by their parents for another several weeks - college age, we jokingly call it, "out of the nest but still dependent on the parents". The fledglings must learn how to feed themselves and how to avoid danger.

This photo was taken yesterday of robins in a nest over our front door. They were just about to leave the nest. Today, they were gone. We spied one of them in the middle of our driveway, then a parent robin came and fed it then it followed the parent into the woods to safer place as it could only fly a very short distance. In several days it will develop better flying skills.

So many times fledglings like this are scooped up by well-meaning people, convinced the fledgling has been adandoned. What a tragedy. If only they knew how to back up and observe from a distance, keep kids and cats indoors, and let the parents care for the fledgling and lead it to cover.

By the way, if you ever do find a truly abandoned fledgling or nestling, (confirmed by observing it for quite a while to be sure no parent is involved), you should know it is not legal for you to keep and raise a native bird. Bring the fledgling to a licensed bird rehabilitator.

Eastern Bluebird, male fledgling,  being fed at our mealworm feeder by his mother

With birds that nest in bird houses, such as bluebirds and Tree Swallows, the fledglings from the get go are better flyers than the young of birds who nest in open cups. Tree Swallows fly very well when they leave the box and are hardly fed at all by the parents, as they can catch food on their own. Bluebirds can fly somewhat when they leave the next box, usually enough to make it to the safety of trees. They are then fed for several weeks by the parents. 

3 comments:

Kristi Bowman said...

It's so much fun to see all the younguns begging for food. I had Violet Green Swallows nesting in one of my Chickadee boxes and I'm pretty sure they just fledges yesterday. I can no longer hear the chirping coming from the box. I'm sure I'll see them soon because the parents love to perch on a wire that goes across the driveway, I can't wait!

ringadingtime said...

Today I had to baby robins fledge the nest in my yard. I observed them in the nest to the tree branches and the gone. The funny thing is the parent robins have stayed looking for the babies, which I know they need to feed them for a few weeks, but looks like they can't find them. I haven't seen them fly and feed the babies at all on the ground or in any bushes . Is this normal or did they roam to far or worse? Hope to see them soon! Mom, Dad and babies.

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

Usually the parents lead the babies into woods or cover, then even farther away. On day one the adults may be near the nest. Often you cannot see where the adukts have led the babies and you would not know if they are feeding babies in the woods. A good sign is if you see the adults collecting food in their bill then flying off, to a baby who may be away and hidden.