Baby birds peeking out from nests often pique the curiosity to know more about them. Nests with baby birds are ubiquitous in backyards and gardens of homes with a lot of vegetation. Bird enthusiasts spend hours and hours analyzing the behavior of young birds and their parents through binoculars. Here are some facts about a young bird that are sure to interest you.
Names According To Growth Stages
Bird experts have coined specific names for each stage in the life of a young bird. There are three stages that baby birds go through in their growth process.
Hatchling is the name given to a baby bird which is 0-3 days old. A bird in the hatchling stage has its eyes closed and is devoid of feathers. It can just lift its head to receive food.
Nestling is the name given to a newborn bird which is 3-13 days old. At this stage, the eyes have opened and feathers start appearing on the skin. By the fifth day, a nestling can stand on its feet and also increase in length.
Fledgling is the name given to baby birds which are about 2 weeks or more in age. At this stage, feathers have fully covered the skin. The fledgling can flutter, walk and hop. The parents continue to protect the fledgling even though it can come out of the nest on its own. A fledgling can leave the nest but cannot fly yet.
Appearance Of Young Bird
Baby birds are vastly different in appearance from their parents. Baby birds often have spotted or streaked feathers. This acts as a camouflage to protect the birds against predators during the early stages of its life. Another interesting fact is that male baby birds appear like a female in many species.
Diet Of Young Bird
The baby birds need to consume food rich in protein for proper growth and development. The parents feed insects and other high protein food to the baby birds. Since baby birds eat several times in an hour, the parents need to ensure a continuous supply of food. It is estimated that parent birds visit the nest 1000 times every day to feed the baby birds.
Learning Survival Skills and Flying
Newborn birds leave the nest even though it has not learned to fly. This is because staying out of the nest enables the baby birds to learn foraging and other survival techniques. The young bird is also able to strengthen its wings and try to fly. It takes some weeks before they learn to fly. Many people often take such baby birds home. This is not advisable because they at this stage has not been abandoned and is still being fed by its parents and taking the birds home deprives it of necessary skills required to survive in the wild.
Risks To Young Bird
Baby birds are at a risk from several factors such as predators, pollution, high temperatures and a host of diseases. Baby birds suffer from high mortality rates. Parent birds often abandon their nests when they need to save their own skin.