Posts Tagged ‘Band-tailed Pigeon’

Central California is awash with baby birds right now!  They are all over the place, out of the nest and following their parents around begging for food and learning what it is to be a bird.  All the young birds I have been seeing are in their hatch year plumage which means that they have the fully formed and functional feathers that they will keep until they molt next year (for most species, this first molt will take them into their adult plumage that they will then replace each year for the rest of their lives).  Just in the last few days in West Sacramento, I have been seeing young Western Scrub Jays, House Finches, American Crows, Bushtits, House Sparrows, Lesser Goldfinches, and Nuttall’s Woodpeckers.  Over the weekend in Berkeley, I saw a young Band-tailed Pigeon in its drab hatch year plumage following one of its parents, all be it a bit clumsily, to the bird feeders that my mom keeps.  The hatch year plumage of this species does not have the classic bronze feathers or white ring on the nap of the neck.  Young birds also lack the dramatic bright yellow bill and feet of the adults.  The population of this large and lovely pigeon species has been declining fairly quickly for unknown reasons, so to see that they are breeding in the Berkeley hills is especially exciting!  It will be very more exciting to see what young birds of other species show up around the area!

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