Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Baby Birds

Welcome to Week #43 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #43 challenge is Birds with chicks or Baby Birds or Nests with Eggs.

The feature image is a baby Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that had fallen out of a very tall tree and onto the ground on a windy day. This is where and how we found the little guy.

This is me improvising….adapting and overcoming! As I mentioned in the round up, I lost my SD Card on Wednesday while picking strawberries. Dumb…yes I know! I usually take it out of my pocket on the trip and put it in my purse. I forgot! Cost me dearly. I’ve lost 1500-2000 images that didn’t get downloaded. Including our last two birding adventures and my photos for this challenge. I may be pulling from my archives and photos I’ve already used on my blogs for a while until I can get back out on the trail.

Common Gallinule (Moorhen)

Common Gallinule with baby chicks at Merritt Island Wildlife Rescue in Titusville, Florida.

This mama had 3 chicks. I only had two in this photo that has been previously used. The photo below is all three chicks with both parents. The parents were leading them into the Mangroves because a 4 foot alligator was on the pursuit. The gator gave up once they got into cover. Common Gallinules are in the rail family and are quite visible in their habitat, unlike many rails who are quite shy. They build nests to raise their young, however they build platforms of matted vegetation to display for potential mates. Newly hatched baby chicks are born with spurs on their wings that help them climb into the nest or grab onto that vegetation.

Both parent Common Gallinule with three baby chicks at Merritt Island Wildlife Rescue in Titusville, Florida.

Great Egret

Great Egret with baby chick in the nest at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida.

As with many birds, Great Egret chicks don’t usually all survive after hatching. Most often, the large chicks will kill their smaller siblings. This type of behavior is called siblicide and is common in birds of prey and herons as well. Great Egrets nest in mixed colonies and are usually the first to arrive with other species to begin nesting shortly after.

Great Egret with greenish blue eggs in the nest at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida.

The male chooses the display area where the nest will later be constructed. Their nests are generally up to a 100 feet off the ground, near water. They will occasionally nest on the ground. The nest is up to 3 feet across and a foot deep and is lined with pliable plant material that dries, forming a cup structure. The eggs are a pale greenish blue.


Tricolored Herons

Tricolored Heron parents with greenish blue eggs in the nest at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida.

Tricolored Herons nest in mixed colonies with other heron species, egrets, and woodstorks. They generally breed on islands and in dense tree or shrubs up to 13 feet above the ground or water. Males usually pick the spot in shade and collects twigs to build a platform before pairing. Once paired with the female, the male will continue to bring more twigs to the female for her to arrange. The female lines the nest with finer twigs and cordgrass. A clutch size is 3-5 eggs and are a pale greenish blue similar to the eggs of the Great Egret.


Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane incubating eggs on a nest at the Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida.

Some Sandhill Cranes start breeding at the age of two years old, however they may reach the age of seven before breeding. They mate for life which means they could be together for 20 plus years. Sandhill Cranes usually nest in isolated wetlands. This Sandhill Crane was tucked in and seen on a nest of eggs on the wildlife drive at Viera Wetlands in Viera, Florida. Generally, a clutch size is 1-3 pale brownish yellow to olive colored eggs with irregular brown and gray markings. When they hatch, they are covered with down, are active with open eyes. The chicks stay with their parents for 9 to 10 months after hatching.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Male and female Blue-gray Gnatcatcher choose a nest site and they both build a neat open cuplike nest. It could take up to two weeks for them to build a nest that is 2-3 inches wide and is held together with branches and spider webbing. They are creatively decorated with lichen. The walls are built high, but on the day that we found this little guy on the ground sitting unhurt on top of oak leaves, those high walls were not enough for the high winds that day. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers lay 3-5 pall blue spotted eggs with reddish to dark brown speckles. When they hatch, they are born naked and helpless, eyes closed and very little movement.

I became Mama Bird for the weekend until we could get this cute little baby to a proper shelter. I fed it all day for two days using a mixture of Heaven’s dog food (soaked in water to mush) and boiled eggs. We also went and got some mealworms from Wild Birds Unlimited and I was then a hero. The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher survived and was released into the wild after several weeks.

The whole story about this bird rescue can be viewed here.


Muscovy Duck (domesticated)

Domesticated Muscovy Duck with 11 baby chicks running around my chiropractors yard in Jacksonville, Florida.

Muscovy Ducks lay 8-15 eggs with a 30-31 day incubation. The eggs are glossy white and sometimes have a greenish or buff tint. When these chicks hatch, they are fearless with a heavy hooked bill. This domestic Muscovy Duck was seen with 11 chicks. Two are not in the photo. She made her nest against the building of my chiropractor’s office. Her and her ducklings were running all over the property. Mama had her “hands” full.


Next time…Week #44 – Birds beginning with the letter “F” (if a bird has more than one word of the name, you can use it as long as it begins with a “F”, ie: Ferruginous Hawk or House Finch) (4/23/21)

Bird Weekly Challenge Badge.

72 Comments on “Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Baby Birds

  1. Pingback: Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Baby Birds — Our Eyes Open - Jakhala.com

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  3. What an amazing post! Really brilliant! the baby gnatcatcher was heartbreaking. Thank goodness you were there to rescue it. Your photos are worthy of the pages of National Geographic or Audubon Society field guide. I am so impressed!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Most publications will have a space devoted to submission guidelines. Many prestigious publications, such as the New Yorker, only publish by invitation. Others are desperate for material. I’m sure National Geographic is closer to the New Yorker end of the spectrum. I have a friend who got on the cover of National Geo. I’ll ask him how he went about it the next time I see him. Cheers! 😃

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the info. That would be amazing! I think I have magazine photos that are worthy. What you see on the blog isn’t the best resolution because I don’t want someone to steal my stuff. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know what you mean. I worry that someone may try to steal some of my butterfly photos. How would I know if one got published overseas, for instance?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, just stumble on it, I guess. Someone stole one of my designs on Etsy. I found it yesterday but haven’t decided if I’m going to do anything about it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m thinking about it. I have that person bookmarked and I will see. The whole design isn’t mine. I purchased it to use but then added to it. Because I added to it, I know it was mine. It isn’t huge deal. They are in the UK. The thing that is getting me, is it looks like they just went and took stuff from a lot of people. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, it is one thing to plagiarise to give information like we do on our blogs where you are not selling that info, but the facts are the facts. It’s another when you just take someone’s designs or photos and start selling them as your own. I don’t always design my own stuff, but I subscribed yearly to sites with clipart and photos. Thereby, giving me the rights to use those designs and incorporate them with my own. It is a fine line, but I pay to be on that line. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • As a librarian, I am fairly well-versed on fair usage. It’s mostly common sense. If you are using someone else’s stuff it’s okay if it’s to review or parody. The amount sampled also goes into play. If one quotes something from another source, they should give attribution. I don’t like it when people steal. I’ve been on the receiving end of such treatment and it hurts, especially when you have no recourse.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are correct on all accounts. A librarian! I thought about doing that as a young person because I love to read, but I found I loved design and got into the sign industry while working on my degree. Now I can make a living at it and love it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Bird Weekly: Birds with Chicks | A Day In The Life

    • Yes, oh that gnatcatcher! I cried when I had to take it to the animal hospital where it would eventually go to the bird sanctuary and then released.

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  8. This my first brush with a gnat catcher. Nice going with that youngster. I really liked your photo of the great egret with its chick; nice to be able to compare sizes.

    I thought I had no photos of chicks, but thanks to your nudge, I looked and found a couple.

    Winter birding

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I was heartbroken when I had to take the gnatcatcher to the animal hospital who then turned it over to our bird sanctuary. If it wasn’t illegal to raise a wild bird, I would have kept it and released it when it was ready. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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