ARTISTS AND BIRDS
by Marilyn and Keith Davis
"Who’s Who . . . Parent or Baby?"
Have you heard all the noise going on in the early morning hours? Each time I awake, when it’s early morning, and I hear all the racket, I have this overwhelming urge to grab my binoculars and run outdoors. I’ve done this before, only to find it was still dark outside. The birds keep singing and I keep thinking . . . how much longer before dawn? When dawn arrives, there is life everywhere . . . singing, making statements, challenging, disciplining, gathering food, and welcoming the new day. The outdoor racket isn’t from just the adults, a lot of it comes from nestlings and fledglings. Now is ‘the day of the fledglings’! Adults and little ones all mixed together. "Feed me, feed me, feed me." That leads to another question, how to tell who’s who, parent or baby? The first ‘giveaway’ is the awkwardness, or the unskilled motions of the young. Babies may look like the adult, or they may seem to be a different specie never seen in the area before. This is because young birds could have bills that seem proportionally too large for their heads, and eyes way too big for their size. Their feathers could be noticeably shorter, stubby, and less organized, and most often the young birds plumage is drab, and dull (similar to the female adult).
A good way for me to tell the approximate age of a bird is to watch it fly, or to hear its cry for the parent to feed me, feed me, feed me. A favorite memory, living in Salt Lake, was watching baby Robins lined up on my rock wall out front and jump-fly through the air. The parent was the instructor and the young did it over and over again until they got it right. A sight I just couldn’t believe was happening, but it was. Birds are amazing and they are all around us.
I hope you get to see some amazing birds. If you do and want to talk ‘birds’ or have a ‘bird story’ to tell, call 435 673-0996. Marilyn Davis is the artist this week. If you wish to read more Artists & Birds articles, they are listed in the table below.
- Red Cliffs Audubon