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The Kids Are Growin' Up

Late summer — and this year's young birds are growing up. Mike Hamilton's camera has found them
unfurling new feathers, practicing essential skills, and sometimes . . . looking a little confused by it all.
[We've named the birds below their pictures, so you can guess what they are. Have fun!]

This juvenile Anna's Hummingbird has found a beautiful source of nectar.

Junco - immWhite crowned Sparrow - imm
These LBBs can get so confusing! On the left, a Dark-eyed Junco. And notice the yellow beak on the White-crowned Sparrow.

Spotted Towhee - juvenile
Both juvenile Song Sparrow (left) and Spotted Towhee (right) have a just-got-up and scruffy look to them.

Now what? An immature Steller's Jay lands on a convenient perch, maybe considering what's next.

Green Heron - very youngGreen Heron - juv
The Green Heron on the left is very young; the juvenile on the right is sprouting some adult plumage but still looks disheveled.

Mallard juvenile
A juvenile Mallard still sports a lot of down.

Rufous Hummingbird - JuvCooper's Hawk - Juv
A juvenile Rufous Hummingbird's colors are coming in beautifully. On the right, an immature Cooper's Hawk - note the yellow eye.

Isn't she lovely?  An immature female Wood Duck takes a spin.

Pied Billed Grebe - juvenileHooded Merganser - female - juv
You might see these two young swimmers in the same waters: a juvenile Pied-billed Grebe (left) and an immature female Hooded Merganser (right).

Wait! What!?! Waiting for more tail feathers: a juvenile American Bittern

GBH - Juv
This immature Osprey still cries for food from its parents, while a juvenile Great Blue Heron works for dinner.

Glaucous-winged gull - JuvCedar Waxwing - juv
More begging and it works! A juvenile Glaucous-winged gull is almost as big as its parent but its legs are not quite as pink and its bill still dark. This juvenile Cedar Waxwing already has distinctive plumage and soon will be a sleek, handsome adult.

A juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk
A juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk strikes quite the pose!

Juvenile Eastern Bluebird
Some young birds have obvious and distinctive markings - others not so much. Here are a juvenile male Common Yellowthroat and a juvenile Eastern Bluebird.

An immature Spotted Sandpiper
And an immature Spotted Sandpiper roams a shoreline.

juvenile Brown Thrasherjuvenile Dipper
A juvenile Brown Thrasher takes a break. And here's a juvenile American Dipper. "First a little yoga, then a dip?"

A juvenile Peregrine Falcon looks intense, perhaps eying something for dinner.

juv sapsuckerjuv pileated wp
Take a look at the difference between these beaks: juvenile male Pileated Woodpecker just growing a mustache, juvenile Red-breasted Sapsucker, and an immature Downy Woodpecker with a pale cap.

Maybe begging still works for this juvenile Tree Swallow.

juv house finch
Now for some streaky finches. A juvenile Pine Siskin found easy pickings while a juvenile House Finch found blackberries.

Helpful hints from eBird:
"When in doubt use 'Immature' for any bird that is not an adult. 'Juvenile' is more specific, describing a bird still in its juvenal plumage. This plumage is held only briefly for many songbirds (just a few weeks after leaving the nest) or up to a year for some larger birds like hawks. Once a bird has molted out of this plumage, it is no longer a juvenile. If you can't determine this but know that the bird isn't an adult, just use 'Immature.'"


All photos © Mike Hamilton
Mike takes pictures every day of the year in the Pacific Northwest -- and sometimes beyond.

Sights & Sounds