Eating and Keeping Cool in NYC Heat Wave, Fledgling Style

Baby birds hatch and fledge throughout the summer.  Yesterday morning, an adult European starling (on the right) and its two fledglings fed from an unidentifiable pile of garbage.


“How do you do this feeding thing?”

Both youngsters seemed quite capable of feeding themselves, and did so, helping themselves to scraps from the ground. But just as some kids are more independent than others, one of the young birds seemed to prefer being fed by its parent. (Male and female starlings look the same. In the photo below, you can make out a couple of spots of iridescent feathers developing on the drab, easily-camouflaged baby.)


Mom, I’m hungry.

It stayed close to the parent, and begged for food, cheeping loudly and insistently.


Did you hear me? I’m hungry!

The parent fed it, then returned to feeding itself. When it flew up to the ledge of the retaining wall behind it, the baby immediately followed.



Again, the parent fed it, then flew off, leaving the youngster momentarily alone.



The parent had flown half a block south to cool off in a clogged water fountain at the Tot Lot playground. Moments later the babies followed to see what was going on.


Soon the parent was routed by another adult, who refused to share bathing rights, and battled another adult that attempted to step into the fountain. The victor took a long and lively bath, watched for a while by the vanquished and then by a youngster.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When he flew off, the vanquished took a quick, restrained dip.


And then it was kiddy time at the pool.



Two (with an observer).


And three.


Eventually the young starlings flew away, and a little sparrow moved in for a drink.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2013, Birds, In the City, NYC Parks, Riverside Park, Seasons, Summer, Wildlife/Natural History

Tags: , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

6 Comments on “Eating and Keeping Cool in NYC Heat Wave, Fledgling Style”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Hi Melissa!

    I love starlings but I’ve never enjoyed such a perfectly delightful span of time with them, especially time including wee ones and excellent photography. Thanks so much for sharing!

    By the way, it’s so good to come to your blog again. Despite my efforts to keep up my writing through the growing season I’ve only just managed to get back into Spokes and Petals and all the writers I love keeping up with. It’s good to know you’re still taking plenty of pictures and regaling us all with your tales.


  2. Mr. Mantooth Says:

    Love it — thanks for tracking that family. You sure you don’t work for a surveillance company?

  3. Charlotte Says:

    I laughed all the way through this, very entertaining story, and those babies, just adorable!

  4. p hoey Says:

    A completely charming picture story. My favorite image is of
    the outraged baby bird demanding to be fed–NOW!

  5. LeslieB22 Says:

    Wow, you captured so much action! I hardly ever manage to snap a bird – but then, I don’t know them as well as I do plants.

  6. Barbara Says:

    Aren’t birds fun to watch? Specially as they grow – always a baby around that is bigger, fatter and more greedy than the others who have already figured out the way to go, but always the one who is needy and manipulates mum and dad… Laughed hard at a similar experience between a Rose-Breasted Gros Beak and it’s drab baby playing the same game… Dad would pick out a seed from the feeder and drop it – the baby ignored it and kept on shaking it’s wings and bleating piteously. Cruel mean Daddy just kept on picking out a seed and dropping it on the ground for baby who was perched across from the feeder. Finally he gave up with the lesson and flew away. Baby sat for a few minutes as if flabbergasted that Dad could abandon it like that. Then cocky little fellow stepped over to the feeder and thinking itself unwatched, began to chow down… Aha I thought gotcha. But unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on -as you did with your great story… loved it. So neatly captured Melissa… thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: