Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A baby bird

with 23 comments

Baby Mockingbird 8413

Click for greater clarity.

On the morning of July 4th—yay America, yay me—I drove to the River Place nature trail in the hills west of Austin. I hadn’t really even started down the trail when I noticed something gray in the grass off to my right. It turned out to be a baby bird, apparently a mockingbird, and although I slowly walked closer and closer, the chick sat there, even to the point of letting me get within inches. Occasionally it chirped and made small movements or even hopped a little, but clearly it was too young to fly.

A man who came up from the trail said he thought the bird had fallen out of a nest; concerned that a dog or cat would get the chick, he tried tried putting it onto a branch of a tree, but the bird fluttered back to the ground. I saw several adult mockingbirds flying around near by, and perhaps one of them eventually rescued the baby bird. Or perhaps not.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 25, 2013 at 6:18 AM

23 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Lovely bird……


    July 25, 2013 at 6:44 AM

  2. A real live mockingbird – how very sweet, and such lovely feathers. I had a couple of fledgling blackbirds on my teeny patio this spring who weren’t great on the flying lark either. They tottered on the edge of a large pot and hid amongst the bamboo, calling for Mum who flitted around with a mouthful of worms or dragonflies. Every now and then one baby would crouch down and sort of spring into the air, sometimes managing to fly a few feet upwards only to collide with the wall of the house, then back to earth again. They disappeared after a few days, I only hope their technique of flight had improved and that they hadn’t fallen foul of a neighbouring cat. So privileged to see it though.
    Jude xx


    July 25, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    • Thanks for telling about your similar experience, and with two fledglings rather than one. I observed mine for only a matter of minutes, but you got to watch yours for several days.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2013 at 7:27 AM

  3. The first time I ever heard the song of a mockingbird, I was staying overnight at my dad’s house. It was the day of my mom’s funeral and this beautiful song woke me up at 3AM. What a sweet portrait this is!


    July 25, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    • And how strange for you to have a mockingbird’s song entwined in your sad experience, the beautiful and the sorrowful at three in the morning. It seems like something you should write about at greater length, if you haven’t already.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM

  4. I’ve noticed that baby birds often spend a couple of days on the ground before flying up into the bushes or trees. The parents keep close track of them and still feed them. The baby birds often hide under foliage. Aren’t they sweet?


    July 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM

  5. Il est trop mignon et so fluffy. Tu as eu bien de la chance de t’approcher si près. J’aime beaucoup son plumage.


    July 25, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    • Oui, j’ai eu de la chance. Je crois que l’oiseau était trop petit pour avoir peur de moi. Et j’ai aussi de la chance d’avoir un commentaire avec mignon et fluffy dans la même phrase.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2013 at 5:20 PM

  6. A nice encounter…one that many people, in our busy lives, would have missed. Thanks for sharing!!


    July 25, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    • You’re welcome. Here again I felt fortunate, this time to have had my attention called to the slight movement of a bit of gray in the grass off to my right. I could easily have missed it, and I have to assume that I have missed plenty of other things over the years.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 25, 2013 at 8:44 PM

  7. Great bird shot Steve!

    Michael Glover

    July 25, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    • Thanks, Michael. As you know, birds are usually skittish subjects, but special circumstances made this extreme closeup possible.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2013 at 6:08 AM

  8. I hope the little one made it! Particularly now that I’m participating in bluebird monitoring, I hold my breath a lot as I approach the boxes. The extremes of weather are particularly worrying. There is a brand new set of babies in one right now (though most boxes are now empty). In our yard, we had a successful “fledging” not long ago, and yesterday, I saw three of the speckled little ones hanging around taking turns bathing in the birdbath. That was really nice to see. It’s hard to go away from the internet (as I must so as to be a good hostess to our arriving guests). I’ll miss seeing your wildflowers and wildlife, not to mention Wind Against Current, which I’ve added to my feeder. Thank you so much for all, and I will be back anon!

    Susan Scheid

    July 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    • Happy bluebird monitoring and people hostessing (and the other way around might prove interesting, too).

      A venerable word, anon. See you then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2013 at 11:29 AM

  9. What a delightful portrait. I love the definition of all the feathers and down, and the aura of self-possession.

    The stillness of the baby is instinctual, and its parents certainly were close by. I’ve never seen newly-fledged mockingbirds, but I’ve seen many cardinals, and their behavior is similar. Once out of the nest, the parents guide them over to bushes or whatever, where they gain strength and practice short flights from one limb to another.

    I have some baby sparrows coming to my feeder now, and they’re hilarious. They eat seed as fast as they can, until their parents show up. Then, they’re all open beaks and fluttering wings as they try to entice mom and dad to keep feeding them. As far as I can tell, mom and dad are up to their tricks.


    July 26, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    • I agree that the downy definition makes the portrait. I expect people with feeders, like you, get to see all sorts of things that I don’t, but here was a rare chance for me to get even closer than that to a wild bird. It may never happen again, so I took advantage of the encounter.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

  10. What a sweet, wonderful image…. I’ve run into similar experiences and can attest to what the others are saying — that the other adults are monitoring the baby. (Hopefully!! Wishes!!)


    July 28, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    • Let’s hope that it ended up well. I could have returned the next day to try to find out, but I didn’t.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2013 at 11:45 AM

  11. One of your rare bird pics. Natch, it’s nice! I have a warped sense of thought about the beak. It looks like a combination of a frown near the eye and wrinkled crumple zone like a vehicle rear-ended slightly. Might have thought of that image even without you mentioning about the bird’s attempts to fly. 🙂


    July 31, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    • It’s hard to get good bird pictures without very long lenses, which are heavy and usually require a tripod, so I remain an opportunist. Occasionally the chance comes my way, as it did here with this baby bird that was not only almost immobile but also let me come right up to it. If only all birds were that accommodating.

      Coincidentally, today, for the third time in as many weeks, I’ve posted yet another bird picture, but of a very different sort, as you may have found out already.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 31, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    • By the way, I like your analogies to a crumple zone and a frown. I’m glad to see your active imagination at work.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 31, 2013 at 6:44 AM

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: