Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30: Youngsters

The other day a very motley-looking titmouse alit on my feeder. Instead of the smooth, plain gray that most titmice sport, this bird was patchy, with brown streaking on its belly and odd feathers sticking out here and there. It took me a few seconds to realize this was a fledgling, recently out of the nest. Already it has learned what a bird feeder is and how to make good use of it. Young-looking chickadees have been appearing at my feeder, as well.

This morning a catbird fledgling was perched on a post at the end of the driveway, whining to another bird waiting in a nearby tree. While the size of a mature bird, it too was a bit ragged around the edges, its sleek adult plumage not yet fully grown in. I've been hearing a catbird singing fragments of song outside my window the past week or so, and now wonder if that bird was a youngster--this one or a nest-mate--practicing its new singing voice.

Meanwhile, at river's edge, a young crow caws with an insistent, whiny pitch that any parent around the world would recognize as begging. On the river, a flotilla of geese, a few smaller and less distinctly patterned than the rest, heads upstream in a tight bunch.

And earlier this week, my two nieces, age three and six, returned to Maine with my sister and brother-in-law to spend the summer at their camp on a nearby lake.

Encouraged by warmth,
young birds try out new feathers,
children learn to swim

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