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Like humans, birds have periods in life when they depend on their parents and those where they go off on their own to start new adult lives. These changes depend on many factors. The parent birds must calculate many things before sending their babies out in the wild. One of the risks is being too unprotected and vulnerable as a group to many predators that may come their way.
For birds that make nests that are unprotected in the wilderness, it is a huge risk daily; they can be exposed to predators at any time. The longer these baby birds stay in their nests, the more exposed to the danger they get, both young birds and their parents.
Another thing that can be a considerable risk factor for baby birds is leaving the nest too early when their wings and bodies haven’t developed enough so they can take care of themselves. These situations can lead to very threatening problems or even deadly. So the time for them to leave the nest has to be perfectly aligned with the circumstances and their abilities.
The time that baby birds spend in their nests before leaving can vary from one bird species to another, and it can be anything from 2-3 weeks to as long as 10 weeks. This time frame can usually be affected by the surroundings of the birds. If the nest is built in a more open and unprotected area, the birds are more likely to attract predators, so the young ones have to leave their nests as soon as possible. There is no time for them to be stationed in one place. If the nest is built in a more secure and hidden area and stronger than other nests, they don’t have to hurry. Still, their odds of survival will become slimmer if they wait longer. Their parents may try to convince and lure them into leaving as soon as possible, but the baby birds will try to stay as long as possible.
There are three stages that young birds have when growing up to become independent birds.
When the young bird leaves the nest too soon, that decision can bring fatal consequences. Leaving too quickly means that their wings haven’t developed fully or enough for them to be capable of taking care of themselves. They might not be able to fly if they are not careful, or even flying poorly can be dangerous at times. Both the parent birds and the young ones need to carefully decide when to leave, although leaving before the adequate time can be smarter than leaving too late.
Sometimes, if dangers are coming their way, the parents may decide to let go of their young ones into the wild, ensuring the survival of at least one of their babies. This means that the death toll of these early bloomers can be as high as 70%. Still, when comparing these statistics, the survival rate for those leaving earlier is much more successful than those staying in the nest longer.
Leaving the nest too late can be fatal for both the baby birds and their bird parents. Even though the baby birds are finally ready to care for themselves and live independently at that point in their lives, they still enjoy better staying in the nest a bit more. While the baby birds will try and prolong this for as much as possible, the parent will try their best to make their birds fly away. Even though this behavior sounds cruel, parent birds usually have strong reasons for that and may save the baby bird’s life.
Believe it or not, sometimes it is better to leave the nest earlier than stay for too long. Having all of their young ones still in their nest together can pose a massive risk for the whole group. The more birds there are in one nest, the bigger the chances are predators will discover them. The parent birds are just hoping that one of their offspring survives, and they can ensure this by sending their babies out of the nest in time.
If the bird has developed feathers, that means the final stage of the baby bird’s development has occurred, and the baby bird became a fledgling. They are now officially ready to begin their journey. After leaving the nest for the first time, the birds won’t be on their own right away. They will be followed by and watched over by their parents. Even though they leave the nest and become adults, their parents will still look after them in their first days as adults. Think of this step as some kind of coaching; the parents are coaching their baby birds on how to stay safe when alone in the wilderness.
Bird’s first step would be finding food. Most of them cannot fly yet, but they can walk and hop pretty well. Their fat reserves are pretty small, and they might not survive the night due to starvation. They will have to keep a constant lookout for any predators lurking. They are unprotected now and independent in making their choices, and if they make one wrong choice, it could be the end of them. The first year will be the toughest one for them. They will be most vulnerable at this time and most fragile and scared. Their odds are against them at this time. After a year has passed, their odds of survival keep getting bigger and bigger.
When finding a baby bird out of its nest and on the ground, most of us will have the urge to pick it up and take care of it; but that is not how things work. Taking the bird can lead to a fatal outcome for the bird. Watch out for these simple clues:
Related Read: Can Birds Pick Up Their Babies? What You Need to Know!
Birds are incredible and extraordinary little creatures. They deserve for people to admire them because they can charm anybody with their fun and kooky virtues. You can recognize some of their behavior patterns in human behavior. Birds will impress anyone who tries to learn a thing or two about them, and they will always leave the interested reader wanting more.
When you’ve finished reading this fun and educational article, you should have some more helpful information lodged in your brain about birds’ interesting and impressive habits. This article contains some valuable tips for finding yourself in a tricky situation. Make sure to read it carefully to know how to handle these situations like a proud admirer of birds.
Featured Image Credit: Kletr, Shutterstock
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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