25 July 2012
Stuff in my yard: Fledgling hawk and goldfinch
Although we enjoy feeding birds all year long, spring and summer are especially fun because of the fledglings. Even though birds generally don't leave the nest until fully adult size (or bigger!), they have certain telltale signs: bald spots, tufts of feathers, a timid air, and a look of confusion.
Here are pictures of two of this year's fledglings. The first one, a fledgling hawk, is unusual to see so close up. I spent a long time with my bird books trying to identify it, and based on the close barring of the tail, the thick legs, and the heavy beak, I think it's a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).
The second is a young American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). Our goldfinch feeder hangs right next to a window, and goldfinches are so shy they generally fly away the moment they see any movement inside. This fledgling goldfinch, though, hadn't learned that lesson yet and stayed at the feeder after all the other birds flew away. You can clearly see how it has fuzzy feathers sticking out in many places and its feathers haven't finished growing in on its back.