Baby birds little blue heron

Safe ways to view and photograph baby birds in the great outdoors

I’ve been a bird fan ever since falling in love with Woodstock in the Charlie Brown and Peanuts Gang comic strips. To qualify that affection, I do not consider myself a “birder” since I don’t keep a life list or travel in search of finding a specific, elusive bird. But I love photographing them, studying their personalities and, most of all, spotting hatchlings and fledglings, which make me smile.

In this photo story, I share some of my favorite baby bird sightings from the past two years. I know a little about bird life cycles and hope you find some of my tips and experiences helpful. We love baby birds at WRT and, if you find some, we encourage you to view them at a safe distance and avoid interrupting their care and feedings.

Baby birds anhinga
These Anhingas grow to adult size while still in the nest and won’t grow larger for the rest of their lives.
Baby birds carolina wren
Carolina Wrens often nest in backyard porch plants, like this one at our neighbor’s house.
Baby birds gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers construct their nests from lichen, caterpillar silk and spiderwebs, fortified with plants and bark.
baby birds gnatcatcher
Fledglings like this Blue-gray Gnatcatcher are less likely to fly away from people, but that changes as they get older.
Baby birds great egret
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge near Hilton Head provides one of the best opportunities to see mating, nesting and chick feeding, from March through May. Here’s a Great Egret family.
Baby birds Grebe
“Patience” often reveals baby birds to people, like this Pied-billed Grebe and chick that swam by while I sat and observed the creek at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado.
baby birds green heron
In spring, I can often be found staring at bushes, looking for slight movements to reveal wildlife, like these newborn Green Herons.
baby birds kildeer
I’m very careful where I step whenever I encounter a Kildeer, who builds its nests on the ground and lay eggs camouflaged as stones.
baby birds merganser
These Common Mergansers in Glacier National Park, MT, stick close to their adult.
baby birds oystercatcher
I occasionally take guided trips to see wildlife, like this American Oystercatcher and chick near Kiawah, SC, during an excursion with Coastal Expeditions.
baby birds pelican
One of my favorite baby bird events was a boat trip to this Brown Pelican rookery in South Carolina.
Baby birds pileated woodpecker
I take time to notice “stuff” while hiking, like this tree snag. After several minutes of watching the empty hole, these baby Pileated Woodpeckers peaked out.
baby birds tricolored heron
Baby birds like these Tri-colored Herons often display punk feather styles that resemble a mohawk.
Baby birds trumpeter swan
These Trumpeter Swans follow their parent at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin.
baby birds whistling ducks
I counted 20 chicks in this Black-bellied Whistling Duck family at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, SC.
baby birds whistling ducks
I use a telephoto lens to photograph birds and try not to disturb them, like these two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. Even if they might let me get closer, I pass up the opportunity for their well-being.
baby birds gallinule
Nothing’s more cute than tiny baby bird wings, twirling like propellors on this Common Gallinule.
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