While we were walking around Bluestem Prairie in northern Minnesota a couple of days ago, we encountered a busy pair of Kingbird parents who were feeding their fledgling chicks. The parents continually cruised out from the bush’s top branches and brought back tiny meals to the chicks every few minutes.
One parent stayed on top of the bush watching out for the chicks, while the other cruised over the prairie.
The Nature Conservancy’s Bluestem Prairie in northwestern Minnesota borders Buffalo River State Park and preserves an expansive field of prairie grass and wildflowers. It is one of the few places one can see Prairie Chickens “boom” on their leks in the spring.
The parent’s appearance is enough to trigger the begging response from its chick.
It looked like they were feeding the chicks tiny caterpillars gleaned from the vegetation.
The chicks look pint-sized next to the adult. They still have a lot of growing to do and will remain with their parents for the next 4-5 weeks. At this stage they probably can’t fly more than a couple of feet, but they can scramble around in the vegetation.