Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Baby Birds

Because we live in the woods that grow from the swamp
next to the Elizabeth River, we see a number of songbirds.
On Monday, I noticed a baby cardinal being fed by its mother.
I was a little surprised since I assumed the nestlings 
would all have been out on their own by now.

A baby cardinal. 
Photo by Ruth Rothschild from Flickr Creative Commons:

But the baby cardinal sat quietly next to its mother
and took the seed from her mouth.
I may be wrong but it seems to me that was a more delicate
exchange than I've seen from other baby-mother bird couples.

Robins seem to stuff the serviceberry fruit right down the baby robins' throat,
and they go fast, with no dawdling in between.
The baby robin makes little noises that sound like squeaks to me.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says that robins communicate with each other
using "cuck" and "tuk" sounds.

Blue jay baby. Photo by Finiky. Flickr Creative Commons

Blue jay babies, on the other hand, squawk and carry on
for their food. The parent blue jay always seems to me to be unruffled,
focused on the task but not feeling any pressure to feed.

Mockingbirds are very methodical: pluck the berry, place it in the baby's mouth.
Fly to the next berry, pluck, place. Repeat.
They seem to have a graceful rhythm the other birds lack.

I do enjoy seeing that little bit of nature outside my door.
When I'm in the right place at the right time to catch a glimpse,
 that seems pretty magical to me.

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