Bend, Oregon
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Young Bird Fledglings Experience Life Away from the Nest

Eastern Bluebird male with fledglingThis summer, parents across the country will spend countless hours with their children, taking them to places they’ve never seen before. The same can be said for the millions of wild bird families that will be introducing their young fledglings to a whole new world of experiences.

People who only feed the birds during the winter will miss out on many fun and fascinating wild bird "family life" activities. Full feeders provide an opportunity to see adult birds as they take some time away from the duties of raising their young.

By mid-summer, fledglings will begin leaving the nest and are being fed and taught to eat from feeders by their parents, a fascinating interaction to observe.

Fledgling Facts

Here are some characteristics and behaviors to look for when watching these baby birds as they begin to leave the nest:

  • Fledglings are about the same size as adults, but often their plumage color is muted and similar to adult females.
  • In some species, fledglings' tails are shorter than the adults', because the tail feathers are still growing.
  • You can recognize Downy and other woodpecker fledglings by their fresh and dapper plumage, whereas that of the adults is worn and dusky from their repeated trips in and out of the nest hole.
  • Chickadee fledglings follow their parents to the bird feeder and perch nearby as the parents go to get food.  They either wait, looking like they are waiting to be served, or they call incessantly "teeship teeship" and flutter their wings until fed.
  • After one to three weeks, the parents stop feeding their fledglings and may even peck at them if they persist in begging for food to get them to feed themselves.

It’s a perfect time to see a lot of interesting bird activity. In some instances, bird family behaviors resemble human family behaviors.