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Worried about young birds hopping on the ground? Here’s what you need to know

American robin fledgling.
American robin fledgling.

In the last week I have noticed a simultaneous appearance of fledglings of several species. At my home I have seen the results of first nestings of brown thrasher, American robin, house finches, Eastern phoebe, Eastern bluebird, and song sparrow.

Keep in mind when young birds fledge they still look very much like babies. Well-meaning humans may think the bird has fallen out of its nest or has been abandoned. A bird similar to the American robin fledgling in today’s photo belongs out of the nest. If you encounter such a bird that can move pretty well on the ground and fly short distances please leave it alone unless there is an imminent danger for the bird. If you must, move the bird to cover; a shrub or small tree limb; and let the parents take over.

In other news, reports of Mississippi kites along the Providence Road corridor from Alexander Road to I-485 have jumped in the last week. I’ve written about these interesting raptors before; graceful aerialists that catch large insects like dragonflies while on the wing or snatch cicadas from the treetops in swooping flight. It appears there may be more than a couple of pairs of this increasing species in that area. Keep an eye to the sky and let me know if you see activity, especially activity suggestive of nesting.

One of my favorite neotropical breeders is the Kentucky warbler. This locally declining species has been a tough find in Mecklenburg County for the past five years or so but an individual has been delighting area birders at Reedy Creek Park of late. Let’s hope this bird attracts a mate and successfully nests there.

It has been another good year for rose-breasted grosbeaks at area feeders. I have received lots of great photos of the stunning males from readers. I appreciate all of them. There is still a chance you might see one at your feeder but time is growing short. They don’t nest here so they need to get moving on north.

Spring migration is on the downswing now but there are some late-migrating species that still must pass through. Among them are some of the more sought after species for local birders. I hope to report on some successful searches next week.

Taylor Piephoff is a naturalist with an interest in the birds and wildlife of the southern Piedmont: PiephoffT@aol.com. Check out his blog at piedmontbirding.blogspot.com

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