Amazing Baby Bird Facts Worth Knowing

A small bird perched on a tree branch

Intrigued about baby birds? Here are some amazing baby bird facts worth knowing if you are a bird lover.

Baby Birds Have Special Names

A small bird perched on a tree branch

A bird is a bird, except when it’s a nestling, hatchling, or fledgling. As baby birds grow, the specific names that refer to the change. These different names denote changes in plumage, proportions, behavior, and care needs that can help birders properly identify baby birds. Some baby birds even have specialized names depending on their species, such as owlet, eyas, or colt.

Not All Baby Birds Are Born With Feathers

A colorful bird perched on a tree branch

Feathers are vital to birds, but many baby birds are born nearly bald—these altricial babies grow their feathers quickly after hatching, but require more parental care to stay warm and healthy. Precocial baby birds, such as ducks and geese, are born with soft down feathers and can leave the nest to forage just hours after hatching, though their parents still guide and protect them.

Baby Birds Can Look Very Different From Their Parents

Even the brightest songbirds often have drab, dull offspring, and many baby birds have spotted or streaked plumage as camouflage to protect them from predators until they learn to fly and be more independent. In many species, baby birds first resemble females, no matter what their gender is. For wading birds, chicks are much smaller and duller than their parents, but they grow quickly.

Baby Bird Siblings May Not All Be the Same Species

Some birds, such as the brown-headed cowbird and the common cuckoo, don’t build nests but instead lay eggs in the nests of other birds. Many birds can recognize eggs they didn’t lay and will reject them, but in other nests, the intruder birds will grow up with foster siblings of completely different species. The larger foster bird often usurps them for more food and can be harmful to its adopted siblings.

Baby Birds Need a Special Diet

Baby birds need special foods to get the proper nutrition for healthy growth. Their parents work hard to provide extra protein with insects, fish, or meat, depending on the species. Some species, including flamingos and doves, produce crop milk to feed young baby birds, while others, such as shorebirds, teach their babies to forage from a young age, letting them experiment in finding food.

Bread Is Junk Food for Baby Ducks

Feeding ducks may be a delightful activity for a spring or summer afternoon, but even the best bread is terrible for ducklings, because it does not provide proper nutrition for healthy growth. Furthermore, ducks that become accustomed to handouts may become less wary of humans or more aggressive in seeking out snacks, behaviors that can be dangerous for the birds.

Babies Leave the Nest Before They Are Grown Up

Parent birds have to get their babies out of the nest before they are mature, otherwise the baby birds won’t have the necessary survival skills. There is no room in the nest for baby birds to stretch and strengthen their wings, and being out of the nest gives them practice foraging and learning their surroundings before they’re fully grown. The parent birds do stay nearby to care for their chicks, however. These are some baby bird facts worth knowing.

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