A photographic journal exploring the smaller--and often overlooked!--natural wonders encountered "off the beaten path" at the Virginia Living Museum. New entries posted every two weeks.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Fine Feathered Friends
Remember the photo of those Carolina wren nestlings I posted two weeks ago? I was able to take one final shot of all four of them before they fledged and left the nest:
And those mockingbird fledglings are still around, with most of their feathers now grown in. On the Museum grounds I've counted three fledglings--they're almost as big as their parents and still asking for food!:
More elusive and trickier to catch with a camera are the family of cardinals that nested right outside the education center. Here a fledgling cardinal looks at me curiously while dad cardinal was not too far away, keeping a close eye on things. Females and juveniles have more muted red colors while the adult male has the well-known bright red plumage:
Perhaps the most fascinating to watch this last week are the four goslings that have been roaming the Museum grounds and pond area. Geese are "precocial" birds meaning they hatch pretty much "ready to go" with fluffy feathers, their eyes open and are able to walk around. (Birds like the wrens, mockingbirds and cardinals are "altricial" birds that hatch without feathers, their eyes are closed and they generally take more parental care since they can't leave the nest right away.):
Both mom and dad keep a close watch on their young ones--dad frequently chases other birds, even other geese, away from the nest site--that's dad in the lower right of this photo:
I hope you are enjoying the fine feathered friends in your area, too! More off the beaten path in two weeks....