Nesting Birds: From Birth To Flight

Baby Birds
As I watch a pair of birds building a nest under our eaves in our decorative hanging basket adorned with potted fuchsia, it reminds me that during the spring season, we must take precautions for nesting birds and fledgling birds that may be lurking in our back yards.

One of the beauties of nature occurs watching the birth and growth of animals. This is true of nesting birds and the fledgling birds that hatch from their eggs. Both the parents participate as the mother goes searching for food and the father watches over.

Nesting Birds
Nesting birds in a tree

The nesting birds chose a location adjacent to our back door with no way for us to avoid watching the mother bird as she sat waiting for her eggs to hatch. The back door is the only access to our garage and our barbeque. We found it interesting that during the day if we came out, the mother bird would fly off, but if we were using our outdoor grill in the evening, she would remain in her nest. Perhaps we looked less threatening after dark.

The Nest
The Nest

Nesting Birds Tips

Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind if you see birds building or perched in a nest. First, it is a good idea to avoid trimming trees or bushes in the area of the nest. Actually, it is better to prune trees when they are dormant, which is usually from November through January.

Do not disturb or destroy a nest because it stresses adult birds and they often abandon the site. If this happens when the chicks are still in the nest they will likely starve.

If you accidentally disturb a nest, leave the vicinity immediately so the parents can get back to it quickly. The longer the adult birds are away from the nest, their young become more vulnerable.

Try to stay away from the area while the birds are nesting. If a nest is exposed, it should be recovered so it appears undisturbed to the birds and is protected.

Nesting Birds
Nesting Birds

The Fledgling

All birds learn to fly from the ground and not from the nest. For this reason, the young birds come out of the nest down to the ground. You will see them hopping around and extending their wings while their parents continue to feed them.

These baby birds are typically fully feathered and alert, holding both wings to the body and why the term “fledging” describes the birds at this stage in their lives. If you see a bird on the ground with Downey feathers on its head, don’t be alarmed because the bird is most likely a healthy fledgling. Most importantly, when you see a healthy bird, do not disturb it. This phenomenon is all part of mother nature’s process. Human hands can cause the parents to stop providing food and education to their young. We do not want to hamper these birds learning to sing, fend for themselves, ward off predators, and migrate as it is all part of the circle of life.

Fledgling Birds
Fledgling Birds

Please remember to keep your pets away from the area at this stage of the baby bird’s development. Remember the less we intervene the better. Let nature take its course.

I know I enjoyed watching these birds grow up as I quietly stole peeks when their parents were not around. Both my husband and I were fascinated to observe when the mother bird allowed us to pass by, thereby permitting us to take glimpses at nature at its best.

If you find a bird that is hurt or in need of assistance contact the California Wildlife Center.