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August 17, 2013 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: The Youngsters

Now that it’s August, nesting season is coming to an end. The tired parents have pushed the babies out of the nest, hopefully taught them to fly and find food for themselves.

I leave my feeders up throughout the summer to provide a quick meal for parent birds who have been working hard all day collecting bugs for their nestlings. I’ve noticed many of them bringing their youngsters to the feeders and showing them the food. Some parents disappear and I have the baby birds all day. The past few weeks my yard has been like a day care center.

Here are a few of the young birds that were in the yard during the past week or two.

Red-winged Blackbird

I watched this little guy’s father show him my peanut feeder and then leave. The juveniles resemble the female and won’t get their adult plumage until next year.

Juvenile Red-winged Blackbird

Mourning Dove

A young dove is the same size as the adults but there is a slight difference in their plumage. If you look closely you can see the feathers on this young bird have a white edging giving them a scaly pattern. The adult’s feathers have a smooth appearance.

Juvenile Mourning Dove


Physically the young grackles resemble their parents but instead of iridescent black feathers they are a soft brown. There are three youngsters that stop by and they can eat a lot of sunflower seeds.

Juvenile Grackle


The young cardinal is extremely shy and stays at the back fence. He hides in the apple tree only occasionally venturing by the feeders nearest the house. (I had to zoom in from quite a distance to get this giving him a grainy appearance.)

Juvenile Cardinal

Brown-headed Cowbird

Young cowbirds look different from their parents. They are often mistaken for a large sparrow.

Juvenile Cowbird

American Robin

This robin looks like he is only a few days out of the nest. Robins don’t visit feeders but they are always in my yard digging for bugs, eating berries and playing in the water. This guy was sitting on the fence waiting for a nearby parent to deliver a worm.

Fledgling Robin

Saturday Snapshot was originated by Alyce at At Home With Books. For the summer it will be hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.



Leave a Comment
  1. Louise / Aug 17 2013 3:29 am

    What a wonderful variety you get in your own yard! I thought that first one was a starling as it loaded on the screen.


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:22 pm

      Oh, I have young Starlings too. They were here last month but they aren’t speckled yet, just a brown color.


  2. Mona / Aug 17 2013 5:59 am

    Great photography………


  3. readerbuzz / Aug 17 2013 6:50 am

    You should feel very proud of all of these careful studies of bird young. Thank you.

    Here’s my Saturday Snapshot.


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:25 pm

      I am a volunteer bird monitor for the forest preserve and we just finished our nesting season survey. I’m still in the habit of checking out every young bird I see.


  4. Susan / Aug 17 2013 7:42 am

    We, too, have enjoyed watching the youngsters this summer … the mourning doves, goldfinches, bluebirds, and robins have been very active in our lower field and around the gardens and back yard. I noticed the other day that the blue jays have come back toward the yard and are scoping out the feeding stations to see if we are stocking them up yet. The bandits! The hummingbirds are bringing their youngsters to the feeders and practicing the aerobatics around the back yard. We’re waiting for the chickadees and juncos to come in on a cool storm from the woods up north … the seasons are changing! AND the hawk migration will be coming along soon … we’ve placed a reminder on our calendar to begin paying attention to the weather patterns so we don’t miss them.


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:31 pm

      Migration is very near. This morning I was out on a walk and saw a flock of 20+ Great Egrets. It was an amazing site to see them assembling and soaring. I’m hoping not to see Juncos until October though! Winter weather can take its time.


  5. laurelrainsnow / Aug 17 2013 8:35 am

    Wonderful shots! Your yard is a birds’ paradise. Enjoy!


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:32 pm

      With five bird baths, a small bubbly pond and a variety of feeders, it’s like Disney Land for birds in my yard.


  6. Beth Hoffman / Aug 17 2013 8:56 am

    Terrific captures, Leslie! I love when the redwings sing, I could listen to them all day.


  7. jkb4664 / Aug 17 2013 9:38 am

    Great photos. We have robins and mourning doves in our area. No cardinals though. The young robins are my favorites. They seem to be so clumsy and needy! 🙂


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:34 pm

      The doves seem to be able to function on their own when they leave the nest but those robins are calling and begging for food for days!


  8. BermudaOnion / Aug 17 2013 9:41 am

    What beautiful birds! I love the little tuft on top of the robin’s head.


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:35 pm

      They lose that little tuft after a day or so out of the nest. Right after I took that shot dad robin coaxed him to the apple tree with a worm.


  9. Arti / Aug 17 2013 10:21 am

    Thanks for sharing your backyard bird sighting. It’s amazing how many different varieties come right to your doorstep.


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:41 pm

      I’m seeing baby birds every day this month. Until I started paying close attention I didn’t notice the juveniles. These are the ones I got good photos of. I had a visit from some adorable young woodpeckers but they wouldn’t wait for me to get my camera.


  10. WordsAndPeace / Aug 17 2013 10:28 am

    this very morning, we still have a lot of mommy birds feeding their little ones on the lawn. looks like late teens still living at home, relying on their parents when they could survive by themselves, lol


    • Leslie / Aug 17 2013 1:38 pm

      The young House Sparrows and Robins are the worst. They would let a parent feed them forever if they could get away with it. Like teens, right!


  11. Suko / Aug 17 2013 11:21 am

    Aren’t they cute?! Wonderful photos of the youngsters, Leslie!


  12. Ginny / Aug 17 2013 1:49 pm

    So many wild birds. I really like the robin. Your garden must be a wildlife haven!


    • Leslie / Aug 19 2013 8:07 am

      It does seem that way at times!


  13. Christine Harding / Aug 17 2013 2:00 pm

    Oh, I wish we had cardinals here in the UK! Of all the birds in your photos this week I love the young cardinal the best, and even without the adult colour, it is clearly recognisable. My snapshot is at


    • Leslie / Aug 19 2013 8:11 am

      If the youngster is a female she will stay reddish brown, the male will be bright red.


  14. irene / Aug 17 2013 2:37 pm

    Love all the birds coming to your feeders. My son and I watched the other day, as a daddy was feeding a young bird and then showed him the pond, I guess he was to wash up, they ended up have a splash in the puddles that had formed from me watering. What a fun sight that was.


    • Leslie / Aug 19 2013 8:13 am

      Watching the babies in the water is so much fun. I have five birdbaths so lots of splashing in my yard too! And the dads are so good with the youngsters, feeding them and showing them around town.


  15. Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) / Aug 17 2013 7:30 pm

    Wonderful photos. Had another nest above the light on the front porch, and this year was present when the babies flew away and didn’t come back. When they did not return, we took the light down and repainted it. Wonder if there will be a nest next year.


    • Leslie / Aug 19 2013 8:15 am

      I’ve found that they tend to return. I don’t know if it’s the same birds or their offspring, but I had wrens for three years in a row in the same nestbox. This year there were way too many House Sparrows hanging around and they drove off the other birds from the boxes, so sadly no wrens.


  16. bettyl / Aug 17 2013 11:04 pm

    That’s a lot of birds. I love the variety of coloring on them.


  17. Melinda / Aug 23 2013 2:12 pm

    My daughter was very excited to see the cardinal…that is her favorite bird!


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