Early July is a great time to watch songbird families. Many baby birds have just fledged and are still dependent on their parents for food ... or they would like to be.
Marcy Cunkelman sees the family interactions up close in her birds-and-butterflies garden. Here are some of her family portraits.
Above, we see that fledglings are the same size as their parents but don't always look like them. You can tell they're related by their actions as this young chipping sparrow begs for food while his parent leans away from the noise! The juvenile's stripes provide camouflage but make him resemble a song sparrow more than the pale, plain-chested adult.
Below, a tree swallow feeds her newly fledged baby. Since swallows capture insects on the wing, the juveniles have to fly well enough to catch bugs before they're able to feed themselves.
And below, a downy woodpecker offers a seed to his baby. When the babies are young the parents lead them to the feeders and offer them seeds. Pretty soon the juveniles figure out that it's faster to get the seeds on their own.
Soon the youngsters will be independent. Meanwhile you'll see them say, "Feed me!"
p.s. Wissahickon Nature Club will have an outing to Marcy's garden this coming Saturday, July 12. Click here for details.
(all photos by Marcy Cunkleman)