Busy birds

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.

Kingbird pair

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.

12 thoughts on “Busy birds

  1. The parents would not approach the chicks with food unless I was quite far away (more than 200 feet), so these images were shot with maxi-zoom as well as maxi-crop with the Sony RX10. I wasn’t even sure I had captured the feeding because all I could see through the lens was parent and chick close together.

  2. We have so many fledglings around the house right now. It’s fascinating to watch them. Our violet-green swallow nest cavity has at least three or four young still not quite ready to fledge. I got some cute photos today. I was fairly close to the tree and the adults flew to the hole a couple times, then then got fussy about my presence.

    • Wow, that is a fantastic opportunity for photos of youngsters. I love the way they poke their heads out to be fed when they get about ready to fledge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a violet-green swallow, let alone photographed one.

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