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.
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.)
It stayed close to the parent, and begged for food, cheeping loudly and insistently.
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.
When he flew off, the vanquished took a quick, restrained dip.
And then it was kiddy time at the pool.
Two (with an observer).
Eventually the young starlings flew away, and a little sparrow moved in for a drink.