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Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

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.


ninthmuse (roz m) said...

Love these photos! Rare chance to see a young hawk up close. I wonder if the goldfinch's bravery will continue, or if he'll learn to be as shy as the others.

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, the hawk pics are so amazing. We've had a few hawks visit our yard, not many. One killed a dove in your yard last year and ate it in front of us.

Shauna Roberts said...

ROZ and CHARLES, glad you enjoyed these pictures. CHARLES, the hawks around here kill and eat our birds occasionally, but we have not yet had one eaten in front of us. Usually, they take their catch up into the mountains to eat.