June is an important time in the annual cycle of many birds, a time when they build nests, hatch chicks and hopefully fledge young to help ensure the continuation of their species. This got me to thinking....how do birds mate, anyway?
It's pretty obvious that birds don't have the same reproductive parts we do, even if you're only a casual observer. Instead, both male and female birds have a small opening through which vital fluids are transferred with a brief touch during mating. However, their courtship rituals echo our own behavior - elaborate visual and auditory displays that can last far longer than the actual act itself. These displays are meant to show off the male’s virility, to convince the female that he is her best possible choice to help her create the strongest, healthiest chicks with the best chance of survival. Sound familiar?
I've watched the mating process and seen the various species constructing their nests in the trees around my neighborhood over the last month and now I'm seeing the fledglings as they struggle to learn how to survive. Some don't make it. It breaks my heart to see nests ravaged by predators, baby birds fallen from nests, some injured, others dead. But that's Mother Nature.
Unlike kittens and puppies that are adorable no matter what the breed, these baby birds run the gamut from cute little fluff balls to scraggly bundles of feathers on twiggy legs with faces that only a mother could love. You'll see what I mean as you thumb through this gallery of baby birds photos. Regardless of their looks, I'm thrilled they are here and its been a delight to watch their antics as they become a part of the fabric of our world.
Click on an image to view them as a slide show and, remember, all images are copyrighted.