Friday, June 6, 2014

Feather Development

In studying the pictures of this week's baby I'm convinced that this was a premature fledge. Breast feathers not filled in yet, wings sparse. At least it remembered to flap its wings when it left the nest, but I suspect this was a weak baby and would not have survived the rigors of existence.
2011. Same nest tree, first nestling on brink. Breast feathers not filled in.
Baby fledged, but never flapped it's little wings, landed on pavement at my feet,  instant death. Moved this baby to grass to document front.
2013, multiple babies, successful fledge. Look at feathers. Full breast feathers, wings more mature.
Adventurous kid, out on sidewalk, parent got it back into bushes.
From same brood, full feathered baby.
Also 2011, second fledge from the nest from which the first fledgling had dropped. This baby made it into a nearby tree, full breast feathers, wing feathers filled in, lots of fuzz, a survivor. All images first day out of est.
Pre-fledge behavior. All birds have to flex their wings before leaving the nest. Muscles have to be developed. These are 2008 robin nestlings prior to fledging. Wing feathers filled in, breast feathers also filled in.
Most dramatic, same behavior, young red tail hawks practicing prior to fledge, developed wing feathers, breast feathers almost filled in. 2009.
Survival of the fittest is what matters. We can't change the reality.

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