The Kids Are All Right


WC isn’t talking about the movie or the song. WC is talking about the newly fledged birds. The next generation. The reason for migration, for courtship, for bird song. Richard Dawkins would call them the reason for birds. Either way, they are out of the nest.

Newly fledged birds, for a birder, are delightful and frustrating at the same time. Delightful because there are lots of them and, birds. Frustrating because they can be very difficult to identify.

WC was in New Meadows, Idaho Friday morning, the headwaters of the Little Salmon River. Photos were taken.

Barn Swallow Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

Barn Swallow Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

This little fellow was waiting half-hopefully to see if his parents might feed him just one more time. Didn’t happen. He hadn’t quite mastered the knack of catching bugs in flight. He will learn. Or be someone else’s meal.

Brewer's or Red-winged Blackbird Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

Brewer’s or Red-winged Blackbird Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

WC struggles to identify a lot of juvenile birds. Including Red-winged versus Brewer’s Blackbird kids. This is likely a Brewer’s, but that’s a guess based on habitat. This fellow was likely still being fed by his parents, although that didn’t happen while WC was there. Those wings are pretty tiny, and there’s a still a lot of down the chest and tertials. Trust WC when he says blackbirds were highly successful breeding this year. There were baby blackbirds everywhere.

Sparrow Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

Sparrow Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

If blackbird kids are difficult, sparrow kids are near-impossible. At least for WC. This could be a Brewer’s, Lark, Vesper or Savannah Sparrow. See what WC means by “frustrating”? Despite not having grown a tail yet, this little guy was foraging for himself. Seeds are a lot easier to catch than bugs in flight.

One last bird, and this one is something of a prize.

Bobolink Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

Bobolink Fledgling, New Meadows, Idaho

WC probably wouldn’t have been able to identify this kid either. But happily, WC’s Surefire Test For Bird ID operated and the kid’s father came to feed him.

Adult Male Bobolink, New Meadows, Idaho

Adult Male Bobolink, New Meadows, Idaho

It’s the first time WC has seen, let alone photographed, a juvenile Bobolink. And been lucky enough to see an adult feeding the kid. So that’s pretty cool.

But, yeah, the kids are all right. Another generation is on the wing.

(Photographers will notice a slight orangish tinge to all the photos, despite WC’s attempts to find a white balance that controlled it. There are a lot of forest fires in Central Idaho, a lot of wood smoke, and the light has that nasty orange cast. WC has been able to reduce it but not eliminate it by using manual white balance settings.)

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2 thoughts on “The Kids Are All Right

  1. Cool Bobolink kid shot. I do not have a shot of an adult bobolink let alone one of the kids. I think you did a great job with the WB. With the warming climate and longer fire seasons we need a white balance setting between cloudy and shade called smokey 🙂

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