Children’s Colouring Competition

Autumn Quiz

To Oblivion and Beyond

June 12, 2020

Threats to Fledglings

From June, parent birds will encourage chicks to leave the safety of the nest, giving them a crash course in flying which normally happens early morning. This harrowing experience is a twofold test of survival as predators will be watching in anticipation. Young birds are highly attractive to many creatures (including the Sparrowhawk) that rely on a constant source to feed their own hungry chicks. Magpies also pose a threat and can seriously reduce wild bird populations of their own. Cats are a well-known threat to many, alongside country weasels.

Once departing the nest, they will be stationed on the ground hiding amongst bedding plants and bushes looking somewhat startled and making begging calls. However, don’t be alarmed they haven’t been abandoned, the adult birds will be close by, occasionally dropping in with food and support.

How to Help During Fledging Season

It is paramount that young fledglings are left alone, unless you believe they are in immediate danger of predators or a moving vehicle. In those cases, you can move it to safety, but not too far away so the parent bird can easily find it.

You may begin to see your lawn littered with youngster looking fluffy and unkempt with garden tree’s playing host to young species of tits with yellow colouring - clumsily flying from ground to perch. This new generation of birds will be unfamiliar with household windows which can be a fatal invisible obstacle. It’s a good idea to add some UV Window Alerts opposite your garden feeders to avoid them crashing into them. These decals contain a component which reflects ultraviolet sunlight – undetectable to humans, it glows brightly for birds to spell out danger ahead.


Feeding & Drinking

Seed, suet and mealworms are great to feed throughout the summer to supplement natural food supplies. Try to avoid feeding whole peanuts that aren’t in a nut feeder throughout the breeding season as there is the risk of choking for young birds. Remember, many species will have more than one brood, so best to wait until September before starting to use peanuts again. Sunflower Seed Heart Chips are a great option for fledglings, with the added benefit of being less likely to germinate. Dried mealworms soaked overnight in water make an extra delicious treat.

Providing a source of clean water for drinking or bathing, particularly during warm spells, is very helpful to young birds. Any shallow source of water from a pond to a bird bath is perfect for offering young birds a place to drink. It may take a few days to get noticed but once found, birds catch on quick and will come back regularly, so make sure it’s kept topped up.


How come younger birds look so different from adult birds?

Whilst in the nest, chicks use most of their energy on growing so they can fledge the nest quickly, rather than achieving a colourful plumage. Chicks rapidly gain weight, up to 10 times from emerging from the egg. Fledglings’ feathers are often pastel tones, to provide the young bird with camouflage from lurking predators. Over time, once accustomed to life outside the nest, young birds will begin to moult their juvenile feathers to reveal an appearance similar to their parents. Every fledgling that leaves the nest will be a comparable size to the adult.

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