Over the last week, I have seen juvenile garden bird fledglings everywhere! I also hear them all the time!
Juvenile birds can cause quite a lot of confusion, as many look different from their parents, but there are good reasons as to why this is!
One reason is that the juvenile plumage may provide camouflage for the young bird, both in the nest and once it has fledged.
Eventually, juvenile birds moult and replace their feathers with adult ones, which is done within their first year.
Here are some photos to help you identify the juvenile birds you may spot in your garden!
Juvenile robins don’t get their red breasts until after their first moult!
Juvenile Great tits have much duller plumage then their parents – they will have their brighter and more colourful feathers after they moult!
Juvenile Blackbirds have light brown speckled plumage!
Juvenile Coal tits have yellowish coloured bodies and dull blackish coloured backs!
Juvenile starlings have grey-brownish coloured plumage – they will get their glossy back and white plumage after they moult!
Blue tits have yellow and dull coloured plumage – they look quite similar to the adults just with duller coloured feathers!
It is very likely you will start to see some juvenile birds in your garden around this time and for the next few months!
If you find a baby bird, first establish if it is a nestling or fledgling.
Nestlings have barely any or young feathers and are not old enough to survive outside on their own. If it is clear what nest the chick has come from and it appears to be strong and healthy, gently pick it up and put it back in the nest without disturbing the other chicks to much. If you can’t find the nest it has come from or it seems that it is injured or unwell. Place the chick in a cardboard box lined with paper towels and take it to a wildlife rescue centre.
Fledglings are baby birds that are mostly feathered and have flown out of the nest naturally as they are ready to survive outside! The parents continue to feed the chicks after they have fledged, and if you can’t see them at the time, it most likely means they are away collecting food or watching from a distance! If the bird is not clearly injured, the best thing to do is leave it alone. If it is near a road or somewhere that could pose a threat to it, gently move it to the side where it is sheltered and out of harms way! If the fledgling is unwell or obviously injured, put it in a cardboard box and take it to the nearest wildlife rescue centre.
So to end, keep an eye out for the baby birds in your garden and watch them grow day by day!