We had quite a madhouse around the feeders yesterday. It was as if a door swung open and all the baby birds flew the nest. What a delight to see.
The juvenile birds have very little color and their distinctive markings are not yet fully pronounced. The male cardinals are mottled in red splotches rather than having that bold red cardinal color. The Tufted Titmouse juveniles are tiny with their crest not yet such a prominent feature. The Bluebirds have a more speckled chest, with the males showing only two streaks of blue plumage in the back.
During the day, the ‘parents’ came to the feeders with their charges, showing them how to maneuver around the feeders. We often see the adults feeding their young. It is such a sweet sight, almost as if they are kissing. It is easy to spot the juveniles because their navigational skills are not refined. They are learning what to be wary of and which birds they can dominate. We were quite surprised to see how aggressive the male Bluebirds were, shooing other birds away from the feeders.
It can be quite chaotic with the birds darting in and out with their clumsy flight skills. We worry more about the fledglings flying into the window as they learn to swoop and dive in their expansive new environment.
As I write, an adult male Bluebird is on top of the feeder pole chirping quite loudly wondering where the feeders are. (We take them in every evening to discourage our nighttime black bear visitors.) It is a familiar and delightful sound early in the morning.
Last night, after the feeders were taken in, a number of juveniles were pecking around at the ground beneath the feeder. I watched as a female cardinal bent over some of the tall grasses eating the tender tops. It must have been happy hour for the adults or else the kids snuck about because there wasn’t an adult In sight!