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Birding Focus: Interesting stories of our feathered friends.

American Robin, juvenile
© George H. Harrison

Black-capped Chickadee, juvenile
© George H. Harrison

Baby Birds Galore

This is the time of the year when there are baby birds all around the backyard, chirping, begging, being fed by their parents, trying to fly, taking first dips in the bird bath, and generally causing commotion.

This is one of the best times of the year to watch backyard birds, because parent birds are so active with their young, Downy woodpeckers showing an overgrown youngster where the suet is, and feeding it some as a teaser. Baby American robins crowded around the edge of a bird bath, trying to get up the courage to take the first plunge. Baby American goldfinches following their parents from tree limb to weed stock, fluttering and begging to be fed. Baby rose-breasted grosbeaks or black-headed grosbeaks calling, calling, calling from high up in a tree.

This is also the time of the year when people find baby birds that they believe have been abandoned or injured. The temptation is great to gather up the little imp and take care of it. Donít do it! Not only is it illegal to keep native wild birds in captivity, but it is nearly impossible for people to raise baby birds. Besides, in most cases, the parents are in the general area, and a little calling from the fledgling will get their attention.

Keep in mind that in nature, 80 percent of all baby songbirds do not survive their first year, and your little ball of fluff may be one of the unfortunate ones. But, it is best to let nature take its course.

-- George H. Harrison