Tricia Hewlett Art

Wildlife Artist

Jan 11, 2023

The Birds are Busy…

I love this time of year!
The birds have been busy and their young are fledging. 
Fledglings are curious and not very not “street-smart” so we often get closer to them than their parents. They tend to sit and check us out checking them out.

Birds are busy
Freshly Fledged Fantail

Fledgling Season

It’s also a time when helpful people pick up fledglings thinking they are “saving” them. 
Please don’t!

Many young songbirds leave the nest 2-5 days before they can fly. They flutter to the ground, and the parents continue to watch over them, and feed them, while the youngsters flap their wings, stagger about,  and develop their wing and leg muscles.

This is a time when predators are an issue, however, it is also a natural process. The biggest issue in urban areas is the family “fur baby” who, no matter how well you feed them, will be tempted by the little fluttering morsel they find. The best you can do to “save” these fledglings is to keep cats and dogs away.

But also, step well away, keep still, and wait to see that the parents are still feeding the young. As the birds are not far from being able to feed themselves, it can be some time between feeds so give it at least half an hour of stillness before you decide to interfere. 

If something has happened to the parents there is not a great deal you can do except contact your nearest bird rescue. Remember, it is illegal to have native birds in your possession. 

However, if you ever have to uplift a bird, and it is a rare requirement, line a small box with paper towels or material. Gently place the bird inside and cover it loosely with a towel. ​Do not feed the bird. Birds have very precise dietary requirements which can be supplied by the parents or a wildlife rehabilitator. 

Although it is difficult, the best thing you can do for a bird found in your garden or local park is nothing. 

Our Current Bird Activity

​As I write this blog we have sparrows nesting in the cabbage tree, two pukeko chicks struggling through the flood debris across the creek, a few freshly fledged fantails flitting about the garden, a blackbird feeding young in the orchard, and a new nest being built above the clothesline, grey warblers feeding young in the chook paddock, a clutch of California quail trailing their bumble bee sized babies along the road, and swallows escaping from their nest under the cabin veranda. 

It really is a wonderful time of year!

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