Posted by: atowhee | June 19, 2013

THE NEXT GENERATION

The human calender pretends that a new season is about to begin–summer. But in the bird world a season of the new will continue. It is fledgling time outside your window.DOWO TWO (1260x1280) Here’s a Downy grabbing a beak of suet while the youngster waits on a nearby limb. And this second picture shows two Downys, a day later, both feeding on suet at same time. Lesson learned.
dowo together
Local birders have reported seeing fledged young from numerous species in recent days: Great Gray Owl, Western Screech-Owl, California Towhee, Bushtit, Pileated Woodpecker, Mallards and Wood Ducks, Canada geese have myriad half-grown goslings, Sandhill Cranes, Mountain Bluebird, Brewer’s Blackbirds.
Here a White-breasted Nuthatch adult prepares to fly toward young or nest hole with beaker of suet: wbnu with suet The young Downy is the same size and similar plumage to the adult. This is typical of many species. But there are also many species where young and old are quite different. Butter-colored Canada Goslings and Sandhill Cranes can be seen feeding next to their well-dressed parents. A young Junco is streaky and puzzling next to its mature parents. Robins, of course, are streaky-breasted when newly fledged. Young Great Gray Owls can’t even fly when they leave the nest, jumping or “laddering” among branches for days after leaving the nest. Cavity-nesting ducks like Wood Duck or Bufflehead get their young out and into the water after only a couple days. They’re still tiny fuzzballs at that stage. Adult grebes often ferry their zebra-striped young about on their backs for weeks after the eggs hatch.
TIMING
Osprey young are in the egg for just over a month. Then it is another 50-60 days before they begin flying. And it is more weeks before they stop depending on mom and dad for fish supper.
Young Red-tailed Hawks are in the egg for about 30 days, then it is another 45 days before they begin to fly but remain dependent on adults for food.
Bushtits are in the egg for 12 days, then spend just two weeks in the nest. The young Anna’s Hummingbird is in the egg 16-17 days, then flies after another 18-21 days. Clearly it is harder to become a hummer than a Bushtit. Nature needs a bit more time for this highly specialized anatomy.
Hermit Thrush are mich larger but just as fast. Twelve days in the egg, then 12 days before the first shakey flights. The larger American Robin is only slightly slower: 12-14 days in the eggs, another two weeks before the first flight. That is like having a human child walk at two weeks. We are soooo slow, we primates.


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