What happens after the fledgling period?
June, what a wonderful time of year; a time of life in our gardens when springtime meets the sound of Dawn Chorus, when young are plentiful and full of life.
During the fledgling season, you may notice a number of birds taking their first steps out of the nest and towards independence. It’s when parents encourage their young to be bold; often with a reluctance on the part of the young birds, but something that is inevitable given the consequent burden on parents due to the immense pressures of raising their young to be healthy individuals.
Throughout this uncertain month, you may even come across the odd fledgling struggling on the ground; in most cases, there’s no need to worry as this is a perfectly natural state for fledglings to be in. Soon, they’ll be off.
In the unfortunate event, however, of some form of injury, you may need to follow specific guidelines, which we have outlined in our post From Nestling to Fledgling.
As you may well be aware, fledglings are often scruffy looking balls of fluff. They were never meant to be gracious out of the egg, primarily because most of the resources they consume, i.e. food, contribute directly towards the weight of the bird rather than the external appearance. In fact, from hatching out the egg to leaving the nest, a bird can increase its weight by as much as ten times.
Once ready, fledglings are often coaxed out of the nest by their parents. It’s easy to imagine that such a fragile creature would step out tentatively, but encouraged it must be, and into the wild it should boldly go, so to speak; or, in other words, as part of the exodus of fledgling life.
Look out for House Sparrows, Tits and Starlings, as June is a key time in the hustle and bustle of their fledgling life. It’s also an ideal time of life for bug-eating birds such as these, as caterpillars and worms are in full abundance and readily available in gardens across the country.
But, what happens next? What happens after independence?
A second round ensues
Albeit in no way as fruitful as the first round, there inevitably ensues a forthcoming bout of breeding, a follow up to the first. Some birds, such as Tits, rely heavily on resources such as caterpillars and worms in June, and since July is a dryer month of the year, Tits usually don’t have a second phase of breeding, instead they bulk produce in June; expect Tits to be less visible in July when worms bury themselves deeper in the ground (See our post on BBC Springwatch 2016: Blue Tits and Great Tits).
However, keep a keen eye out for finches, as July is their month. You’ll notice plentiful yields of seeds in July, a sure hit with finches. If you’re lucky enough to have a sunflower in your garden, you may even find a number of finches scurrying to munch on the seeds. Or, of course, you can always provide sunflower hearts in one of your feeders.
Furthermore, you’re likely to notice a number of Blackbirds and Songbirds hanging around to mate. Interestingly, irrelevant of divorce, separation or death, these birds are willing to breed and produce a further brood, often with an utterly ruthless aim – murder and intrigue are all a part of our gardens in June and July. Shakespeare could have taken note and inspiration from the drama of foliage and hedgerows in our gardens.
So, remember to observe a second round of breeding in July. Provide lots of sustenance in your gardens; birds such as Blackbirds and songbirds could always use a helping hand with foods such as mealworm and suet fats. And finches are attracted to seeds, in particular thistle seeds such as niger.