I’ve been asked a few times recently, how to recognize what a baby bird looks like? It’s not as easy as you may think, but there are some simple tricks. Keep in mind that when a young bird leaves the nest it is the same size as the parent, so size isn’t helpful. The two best things too look for is the plumage and begging behaviours.
Plummage: Sometimes baby birds have different plumage from their parents. They may have inconsistent colouring (like young Rose-breasted Grosbeaks), strange feathers that poke out (like young House Finches), colouring in different places than adults (like young male Hairy Woodpeckers) or are different in colour (like young Baltimore Orioles).
|A young House Finch, notice the two feathers sticking up, visible on most young House Finches|
|Young Baltimore Oriole lacks the colour of it's parent|
|A young Northern Cardinal follows it's dad and begs for food until fed|
So if you notice birds with strange plumage patterns or behaviours at this time of the year it very well may be a young bird. I hope this helps to identify young birds in your yard. Keep your eyes peeled there are lots of young birds at this time of the year.