Posted by: atowhee | June 4, 2021


The young are all around us now. In our small garden I’ve already seen fledgling Steller’s and Scrub-Jays, starlings. At a nearby marsh there are precocial, precocious running and swimming young–Mallard, Canada geese, Killdeer. Across the state red-tails and Great Horned Owls have fledged. Many species now have nestlings. Even thalet arriving Common Nighthawks are now attending to pre-nesting behavior. Even with good, attentive parents (jays, geese) these kids will have a hard time. Most will not live to see next summer’s end. The non-migratory species (jays and geese again) will likely survive at a better rate than swallows or warblers. Thus some species that we have provided with ideal habitat–jays, gulls, Canada Geese–can actually see their populations increase going forward. Other birds that need what we destroy or devalue suffer–Burrowing Owl, Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, California Quail, Snowy Plover, Harlequin, California Condor, Sage Grouse, Spotted Owl, Bobolink, Tricolored Blackbird, nearly all seabirds, most crane species. Some of these species will depend on continued, deliberate nurturing by conscious effort from people to survive much longer.

Mallard family at Fairview Wetlands. Single and trio of young starlings in our garden–loud, awkward, unsure yet cocksure–like our own fledglings. Young Steller’s in our garden. He must have come some distance from nearest Doug-fir stand. While we ate lunch nearby he didn’t flinch,. an hour after he we left him alone he had left, probably with parents who’d been watching, silently. The Barn Owl images of adult and nestling are frim Karl Schneck who fosters the4se guys in his barn near Ashland every spring. The momma Great Gray and her nestling were photographed by Peter Thiemann in southern Oregon as well. At least two young in that nest platform this year.

Perhaps the most pathetic-looking kid is this fledged scrub-jay near my home in Salem…feathers have molted. He was working away with his beak, preening and smoothing to little visible effect. He’s just in that gangly phase. Should he make it to October, he’ll look as sharp as his parents did back in March.

You can’t blame him for not looking at the camera.

Back in mid-April I got to visit a family of Barn Owls in a private barn near ANKENY NWR. You can click here to see those images.

Early nesters–hunting is easier in winter before plants leaf out–here’s a Great Horned Owl kid already fully feathered and grown-up looking…May at Illahe Country Club, Salem— photo by Roxy Evans:

Among the late nesters hereabouts are waxwings who’ll wait until there is fresh fruit on the al fresco menu. Screech-owls also wait for warm summer nights with maximum moth supply–it is still too cool for them.

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