Even Birds Need to Learn How to Fly

Over the last few weeks I have seen (and heard) a lot of young birds around the area. This is not surprising as late july and early august is when many young birds start taking to the sky and begin learning how to fly. As with any type of learning, this is bound to lead to mistakes and a few birds will find themselves in trouble.

I try and walk everyday and this provides a great time to see the birds and trees of our area. On some of my recent walks I began to hear a “screaming” sound; in fact, my wife says it sounded like something in distress! I gently explained to her that this was the sound of a young Red Tailed Hawk (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/red-tailed_hawk/sounds and scroll to the sound of the 11 day old chick), but not necessarily something in distress. Birds vocalize for a variety of reasons, among these are for young to communicate with their parents and this young bird was just saying – look mom, I can fly! Or Help, I’m lost. A few more examples:

  • Entering my house one day I was startled by a young robin in the corner of my courtyard. Upon seeing me it got scared and promptly flew into the front door window. Luckily it was not injured, sat for a moment and flew and hopped it’s way into the woods nearby. Grounded young birds are at risk from predators – hopefully it made it through the ordeal safely.
  • Just last week a friend of mine from Bethlehem sent me a picture of a young Great Horned Owl she came across while walking her dogs. It had fallen from it’s nest or a nearby perch and was pretty helpless. She called a local wildlife center and they came and “rescued” the owl – see picture.

There are a few places to call when you find a stressed wild animal. One that I have heard good things about is http://poconowildlife.com . Most of the time there is no need to interfere with the animal; in fact it may be dangerous to approach an animal – especially if it is sick or it’s mother is nearby. If you suspect you need some help, alert a local animal shelterfor advice. Oh, and the idea that touching a bird will lead to it’s mother abandoning it because of your scent – Not True.

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