Ready to Fly !
This photo was taken about a hour before fledging.
This photo was taken about a hour before fledging.
Great Egret displaying its beautiful breeding plumage to attract a mate at the Smith Oaks Rookery at High Island, Texas
Pair of Laughing Gulls nestled among the spring flowers at a shorebird nesting area in Rockport, Texas
bluebird parents watching a nuthatch
I was in a nearby state park when I saw male and female Blue-gray Gnatcatchers repeatedly fly into this tree. Here, the male is giving nesting material to the female.
Ash-throated flycatchers nested in the first year that the Eco-Education Program in Richmond, CA, a hands-on nature education program to low income students built, installed and decorated nest boxes in near by parks. The the program started in 1999, and this year decided to expand their programs to add nest boxes to near by parks, and seven of the 12 boxes were used this first year. Program is lead by Anthony Decicco from the Golden Gate Audubon Chapter.
A female kestrel (who we named Kessie) eats an eggshell from one of her hatchlings while sitting on them and incubating the rest of the eggs. We watched her eat this shell and others via a webcam installed in the nesting box. We had never heard about Kestrels eating their eggshells so this was surprising to see. More pictures of the kestrels are @tkestrels on Twitter.
A female kestrel (who we named Kessie) feeds her first hatchling while the second hatchling emerges from the egg. They look so fragile at first but they were grown, fledged, and gone within a month. We were able to watch the hatching process for all four eggs via the webcam installed in the nest box.
All the kestrel chicks returned for a family reunion on top of their nest box. Here the five are watching a bee.
After waiting days for these baby Bluebirds to fledge, I was so excited to actually see and photograph this little little one come flying out of the house. There was no hesitation at all, it just came flying right out of the hole in the house way up high into a nearby tree. Although I will truly miss these beautiful birds, which happen to be the New York State bird, I am happy that they all fledged successfully before the heatwave we had here. This was an amazing experience for me that I will never forget and I am hoping they will come back again in years to come.
This poor young Bald Eagle was being harrased by pair of Blue Jays.
This eaglet’s nest was built many years ago during the off season over a small campground along the Susquehanna River. The adults have successfully fledged 2-3 eaglets per year for many years despite the return of the humans each spring. This eaglet learned how pesky Blue Jays can be on the very 1st day fledging from the nest tree nearby. This Blue Jay continued his assault, squawking and repeatedly bopping the eaglet on the head and back until the eaglet realized his only escape was back into the nest tree!
This eaglet’s nest was built many years ago during the off season over a small campground along the Susquehanna River. The adults have successfully fledged 2-3 eaglets per year for many years despite the return of the humans each spring. This year, on the very 1st day fledging from the nest tree nearby, this eaglet made it clear s/he understood their destiny as our national bird!
A house wren dive-bombs the sparrow raiding its nest – somewhat ironic, given that the wren has appropriated a nestbox intended for a bluebird family.
I observed this, juvenile, Eastern Bluebird, from the previous brood, helping feed it’s younger siblings for 6 days, prior to their fledging. The first time, I witnessed this I thought, perhaps, it was a one time event, since the mealworms happened to be close by, but then saw the juvenile fly to the ground, where he plucked a spider from the grass, taking it back to feed the nestlings, inside the box. After this brood fledged, I continued to see the helper come to a mealworm feeder,I put out in the evenings, and take worms up to a large Oak Tree, where this pair, always led their young for safe keeping the first week, so he, definitely, was a good helper! I knew this behavior occurred, but I have only witnessed it once in 10 years of monitoring.
I was, obviously, surprised to find this female laying white eggs. I knew it occurred a small percentage of time, but I’ve only seen it once in the nests I have monitored the past 10 years, and may never see it again. From what I have read, once a female lays white eggs, she always lays white eggs, which was another reason this clutch surprised me. It was the second clutch, and the first clutch consisted of the normal blue color eggs. There was no behavior to indicate that the females were different. I was already, looking forward to what the third clutch would reveal, but, unfortunately, as these eggs started to hatch, the female must have been killed by a predator, on one of her first runs in search of food, for the nestlings. The male was present, but the female disappeared. A sad ending to such an exciting start.
A family of Raccoons would have loved to have had an early breakfast, feasting on the three 2 week old bluebirds in the nest box, attached to the top of the baffled pole. The raccoon is pictured standing on his hind legs, reaching up, to the bottom of the stove pipe predator guard, which WORKS! I was fortunate to witness these three bluebirds, successfully, fledge the following day, but that would not have happened if I had not secured this nest box, properly, on a free standing pole, with one of the best (if not the best) predator guards to protect them from snakes, coons and cats.
PLEASE everyone Safety 101…Seat belts save lives for humans. Predator guards save lives for birds!!
The plans to make this easy and inexpensive stove pipe baffle is on the Nestwatch website, but I will make it easy for you to get to, right now.
I was watching birds visit my feeders and saw this Robin looking for a meal so I picked up the camera. Good thing I did because the next second the Robin saw its prey and dove quickly to the ground and immediately pulled up this worm. I was lucky my camera was out and I was able to snap a couple pics quickly. I love the way this shows the leverage the Robin uses with its legs.
I will never forget this wonderful morning when I finally realized why the Owls had been flying in and out of a knothole in a tree right off our deck. I didn’t even know what kind they were. I got bronchitis that week and spent 4 glorious weeks watching Hoobaby grow and learn to fly. I also got many videos of Mama bringing food to Hoobaby. I read everything I could find on barred owls. I have photographed them for hours, and I have just completed a house for them that I hope to soon have hung for them:)
This papa eastern bluebird was all puffed up for about 10 minutes when a pair of cardinals got too close to this protective daddy’s 2nd brood this spring. He’s trying to look big and bad, but too cute is more like it!
These chicks hatched a few hours before I took the photo, and look completely helpless. At the same time, hard to believe they were tucked into their tiny eggs!
Nazca Boobies lay 2 eggs. In this photo, the first hatchling lays tucked underneath the parent beside the second egg.
Hummingbirds sharing the feeder
We watched as the male osprey delivered a headless fish for his mate. She flew off to a nearby tree to feast, while he settled on the nest.
We put horse hair our every spring when the horses start to shed. This titmouse took full advantage of the opportunity, and took beaks full of hair back to the nest!
Seacycling one morning I watched the adult robin land in a near by tree with some worms in her month. She hopped down into the nest and I was able to capture the moment.
On an early morning, this beautiful little barn swallow was resting on the edge of a lower rooftop outside my bedroom window. After what I felt was an eternity, the bird finally stretched her/his wings and flew fearlessly away. It was a precious moment.
I had a very nice fairy garden set up on some shelves on my back porch this summer. It was made up of geodes, Dept 56 fairy tale house, and fairy figurines. One day, I noticed the fairy figurines had been tossed off the shelf and replaced instead with a small grouping of sticks. I threw the sticks off the shelf, thinking my husband had did this as a joke. But he said he had no idea how the rearrangement occurred. Until the next day, we noticed that the fairies were gone once again and this time you could tell a nest was being built amongst the geodes. The next morning, my husband woke me up and exclaimed, “I know who is building the nest!” And I got up, looked outside and saw two mourning doves working together; one sitting and forming the nest and the other going and getting twigs. They were so beautiful and the nest so perfectly situated next to the fairy house, that we decided to let them stay. I did some research and found out who the female and male were. In this picture, the male had just given the female a branch to add to the nest. She searched amongst the other twigs and then, very carefully positioned the twig into the nest. It was fun & interesting to see them work together. They would work for awhile in the morning and then, disappear for the rest of the day, returning the next day to continue. They did this for about 4 days and then, finally stayed on the nest, after laying 2 white eggs.
Mamma and Daddy Wren are getting ready for their little family
Just one of the tired, hungry babies of three. Mamma had just left the box and this one was still wanting more.
This Killdeer performed the Broken Wing Display in an effort to draw us from the place her nest was hidden.
Mating of storks. A unique ritual, that male performs before his female lays eggs. It’s great to see this process!
We watched for an hour from our car. Mama Great Horned Owl was NOT happy with us watching her 3 fluffy headed babies! She kept their heads down most of the time. This was her HAPPIEST face for us! She never moved but she never took her laser gaze off of us either! We did not approach the tree trunk of this mostly dead tree at the corner of a field on a dusty country road. May 2016.
This little Jay made several attempts at getting to this orange delight…
the birds built a nest in one corner of the pergola, the eggs have already hatced. babies were waiting for the parents. Perched on a near by tree the parent is keeping an eye on the babies
Standing on the window seat on the second floor leaning out the window, I enjoyed watching this handsome family as they grew, high up in a pine tree.
This young burrowing owl chick has been practicing his hunting skills by flying a short distance away from the nest to capture “preys” of his imagination, e.g. a loose feather, a small rock, etc. In this photo he was flying back to the nest with his captured “prey”, which happened to be a small piece of clay in this case.
Witnessing this Downy Woodpecker appear from this nest cavity with beak fulls of wood, spit them out only to disappear back inside and repeat the process was magical!
The Male Prothonotary Warbler supports the nest with maintenance chores.
We watched the warbler bringing nesting material to build the nest, then, subsequently, she and her partner brought caterpillars in to feed the brood.
Four young Screech Owls two of witch are hiding
I was filming an Anna’s Hummingbird nest for several weeks when the last chick finally fledged. Of course, this was news to Mom who was away foraging. When she returned with food to the empty nest, she began excitedly chirping and circling the yard looking for her chick. When the chick heard her call, it began peeping and fluttering on the branch. It didn’t take long before Mom found her chick, only about 10 feet away from the nest, perched on a Tree Peony. This was the first feeding the chick received after leaving the nest.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Coyote Trailhead. Northern Flicker returning to aspen tree hole nest with food for fledgling.
Mom and Dad swallow find the right home for their nest
This hawk nest is on Tolsona Mountain,Alaska, about 60 feet up in a spruce tree near several small lakes. We first saw two juveniles in the nest in early June. By July 10, when I took this photo, one was flying, and only one was left in the nest.
This fledgling is about to leave the nest. Just taking a moment to contemplate the future.
Brown headed cowbird fledging from a Carolina Wren nest.
We watched the woodies excavate the cavity, guard 6 eggs, care for hatchlings, and introduce juveniles to suet.
I followed this pair of sandhill cranes for years, capturing photos at all stages for generations of this family. This photo is one of my favorites, because the frolicking colts and patient parents walking ahead and behind, leading the colts to forage, remind me so much of my own family on nature walks when I was a child.
Two pileated woodpecker nestlings gaze in wonder at the new world outside their home.
Barred Owlet is joined by Mom at the entrance of their nesting cavity.
I was eye witness to the adult Red tail Hawk fly in to the nest with its prey,in this case a small bird and drop it in the nest to feed family of three eyas.This photo was taken on the third floor of the local library where the nest was built in a pine tree and I took the photograph through the window without any disturbance to the nest.As the adult hawk flew in,I saw a small branch with leaf with the prey which was deposited in the nest and the eyas played with the branch as if it were a toy at a later time after feeding.
A family of barn owls that live outside my front door.
They just recently had a baby!
I have always loved owls& now I get to enjoy them right outside, especially@ dusk when they come in my backyard & talk to each other.
As I photographed the Great Horned Owl nest a Gray Squirrel ran up the tree with nesting material, she had a nest just three feet above the owls. Mom didn’t seem to care, but the little ones were interested and watched the Squirrel go by several times.
The nest is a good size one, made up mostly of twigs and grass material. Its high up in the tree with several large branches supporting it and outer shape is somewhat like a square design for added protection. We saw birds flying up the tree but didn’t realize there was a nest.
Quail father checked out new location and after the signal, mom lead out 8 babies to the new location
The resident cranes here are quite tolerant of people and allow for close photo ops.
Four baby owls watched by many at the historic Old Pen
This Brown-headed Nuthatch box was placed in a local park by the Audubon Society of Forsyth County, and I monitored it for nestwatch. Last year the box was home to a family of Carolina Chickadees, and this year, a family of Brown-headed Nuthatches. At the time of the photo, the young were almost ready to fledge and the parents were very busy. Of course, Brown-headed nuthatches always seem to be very busy!
Atlantic Puffins are also known as sea parrots or clowns of the sea because of their colors. They are a real joy to see!
This male anhinga in breeding colors swooped down next to me to get a stick for nesting. Amazing feathers and gorgeous eyes!
This gull is giving us a big beach hello!
These purple martin hatchlings seem to be giving each other a hug. You can still see bits of shell on the one in the process of hatching.
I have a beautiful garden that attracts birds, bees, butterflies etc. California Robin nested in one of the trellises close to our kitchen. My husband and I watched the whole episode from the day we found the bird started building the nest, found the tiny little bluish eggs, eggs just hatching, developing feathers, and the little ones opening their moths to be fed and fledging. We used a ladder to go closer and take photos. It was an amazing experience. I even published the story in birds and Blooms. The parents took such a good care of the nest, taking turns until the day the bird babies fledged.
The parental bird was sittsitting on its eggs.
Mama Robin made this beautiful nest on a railing on my back porch. I enjoyed watching the progress as she laid the eggs and they hatched and matured.
Mother Robin’s three “not so little” secrets. One of our Robins blessed our family by choosing one of our magnolia bushes to have and raise her young. Oddly enough my twin three year old boys use this bush as their “climbing tree”. I can’t believe she chose a place my kids frequent and at a level that they are able to observe her babies. Blessed by Mother Nature.
I located an Osprey nest along the Deschutes River, not far from my home, in Sisters, Oregon. About 30′ away on a pole a Western Kingbird had built its nest. Each time the adult Osprey came in the adult Kingbird would fly from its nest and harass the Osprey by swooping and diving at it. On several occasions the Kingbird would actually land on the back of the Osprey and peck at its head. I could tell that this little Kingbird was really causing stress in the Osprey family. In time both the Osprey and Kingbird chicks fledged.
I was watching this Eastern Bluebird come back and forth from the nest building her nest and caught this photo of her through my windows when she was looking right at me.
For weeks, we watched as our resident male red-bellied woodpecker (Clyde) went to work every morning on their nest cavity. Slowly but surely. he got it big enough to crawl into, then spent countless hours excavating from inside, blowing the woodchips out with a glazed look in his eyes. Periodically, his mate (Bonnie) would show up and give him this look…the look that all husbands love when working on their Honey-Do lists!
The Bald Eagle nest, the adult eagle brought in food for the Eaglet
A friend alerted me to the presence of this Ruby-throated Hummingbird nest located in a local conservation area. The chicks fledged on the day after this photo was taken. Early July 2015.
This mother red bellied woodpecker brought food to its baby, which stayed in the tree.
I was photographing this young Black Capped Chickadee that was looking out of this felt birdhouse, when he suddenly flew to the ground. He then took two steps and flew to a nearby fence.
bluebirds checking out a new box to see if it will work as a new home
While watching a Bald Eagle’s nest, I had only observed 2 eaglets. After a month of watching, mama eagle flew in with a fresh fish, and all of a sudden a third eaglet popped his head up, looking for some lunch! I was astonished to see all three, who, subsequently, all fledged!
Unfortunately, by the time we discovered the reason for the ruckus in the trees just off our front yard, this snake had already snatched one of the two brown thrasher chicks from the nest, which was in a bush just a couple of feet off the ground. The parents tried to run off the snake, but it climbed a tree, where it held them at bay for a little while, then apparently grew tired of the battle, climbed back down and slithered off into the woods.
Goose teaching the babies to swim on the big lake!
Ever wonder why nests built inside a bird house do not fill up with the waste of the baby birds…. yep… proof in the photo. EWWWW.. And you thought changing a diaper was nasty!!
It was no surprise to us to discover a pair of Red-shouldered hawks nesting in the giant live oak tree twenty feet above the front door of my Lakeland, FL home. The nearby lake, home to an abundance of frogs, snakes, lizards, possums, armadillo’s and a host of other critters, is prime hawk real estate.
For about nineteen weeks in the summer of 2015 we had the privilege to be eye witness to a trio of hawks begin their lives. Around week five, the nest was getting too small for three rapidly growing chicks and they branched out a little further each day, stretching their wings, legs and claws, within the confines of the home tree.
By week six they were making short flights around the yard and onto neighboring roofs as they practiced hunting prey, starting with easier catches like large insects and small snakes and lizards.
Although it was an exciting experience having hawks on the premises, we readily admit that we are not sorry to see them go. Mama had a bad habit of dive bombing the yard.
While working as a volunteer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Variegated Fairy Wren site in Australia, this female was spotted bringing material in to complete her nest. Luckily, I carried my camera with me most days and snapped this photo from a discrete hiding place while she flew back and forth carrying nesting material.
The Northern Mockingbirds in this area were all very active. This Mockingbird had a nest with young in a Palm tree in the front yard of the hotel. I just had to wait a short time and this bird shows up with a beak full of juicy bugs, which it then fed to the babies in the nest.
This photo was taken at Cabell Marsh, Finley Wildlife refuge. My wife and I walked out the board walk to the bird blind and this little Phoebe was fly-catching and bringing back their prize catch, to show it off to us. The little bird was so proud.
Our urban, backyard nest box yielded an animated brood of Eastern Screech-Owls. Once the owlets were big enough to climb up and peek out of the nest box opening and take up most of the room in the box, the parents started spending their afternoons dozing in trees etc. nearby. One day we discovered the female snoozing on our window ledge about 10 feet from the tree with the nest box in it – close enough to keep an eye on the nest but far enough away for some peace and quiet!
Male Bluebird atop cemetery fence–about 20 feet from his nestbox–chased a squirrel from the trunk of the walnut tree in the background and followed it along the edge of the fence. He then froze–when he saw the Starlings.
(NOTE: I hope this is not cropped as it appears in the above thumbnail…interesting parts cut off! Grrrr…) On May 27, 2016, I put up my FIRST Bluebird box adjacent to a cemetery in Chicago, IL. Amazingly enough, within DAYS, the female was building a nest! On or about July 11, at least two (and perhaps three) fledglings left the nest. That afternoon, the female, who had just returned from feeding the young in the box, perched on the sign pictured here (I hope). This was a distinct departure in routine for her–to dally in the area for so long and in a new location. She remained there for nearly 10 minutes, calling.