Take a Peek Into Avian Household Life with These Cute Chick Pics

Who doesn’t love child hen photograph? These 16 photographs submitted to the 2022 Audubon Pictures Awards are all cute, sure, however they additionally seize transient moments within the different lives of younger birds. Documenting each essential milestones of improvement, like feather progress, and extra entertaining moments, like hangry chicks, these pictures grant us a peek into the intimate relationships between dad and mom and their younger.

Taking pictures of wildlife responsibly ought to all the time be a prime precedence, particularly in the case of dad and mom and their offspring. The photographers featured beneath all stored hen security on the forefront, utilizing telephoto lenses and continually observing birds for indicators of stress. It’s extraordinarily essential to keep away from approaching a nest or disturbing the birds. How would possibly you recognize in case you’re too shut? To defend their younger, some species will fly at your head and try to attract blood ( you, Widespread Tern), whereas others would possibly attempt to lure potential predators away with misleading behaviors, just like the broken-wing show of a Killdeer. Snapping pictures of child birds utilizing a blind or telephoto lens from a distance, mixed with hypervigilance to any indicators of hysteria, will can help you {photograph} birds as safely as doable.

Though these 16 photos could not have clinched a win within the 2022 awards (take time to peruse the total winners and the High 100 photos), they have been victorious of their distinctive captures. Proceed studying to find out about every species’ breeding conduct—and put together to gush over all these lovable child birds. Impressed by all of the cuteness? Submit your individual gorgeous photos to this 12 months’s Audubon Pictures Awards—now open via March 1. 

American Dipper (above) 

Water cascades over a rocky stream mattress, however the unusual scene within the center steals the limelight: The top of a charcoal-colored hen disappearing down the mouth of a second hen. Wings unfold extensive for steadiness, with a stubby tail and gaping yellow mouth, a younger American Dipper squawks demandingly at its father or mother whereas concurrently receiving meals. Photographer Kate Individuals snapped this second after two of the 4 chicks fledged the nest and each dad and mom busily foraged to feed all 4 nestlings. North America’s solely aquatic songbird, American Dippers will seek for bugs together with mayflies, beetles, and mosquitoes by submerging their head and even diving underwater. As a result of they like cool, clear water for profitable meals seize, this species’ presence is usually a helpful indicator of water high quality.

Mourning Dove

A Mourning Dove grownup and juvenile sit on a department, their gray-brown plumage one way or the other popping in opposition to the mossy-green tree cover. Raindrops sparkle on the guidelines of blurred pine needles within the foreground—the one clue that photographer Rehna George captured this scene firstly of a night rain bathe. Mourning Doves inhabit many of the United States and Mexico year-round, readily adapting to human-altered landscapes. A standard yard hen, they thrive in disturbed roadsides and concrete areas, in addition to extra pure grasslands and woods. They’ll increase six completely different broods per 12 months—a file amongst native birds. Females lay simply two eggs, incubating them for 2 weeks. After hatching, chicks fledge round two weeks however stick shut by. Each dad and mom will feed infants “pigeon milk,” a nutrient-rich liquid produced in an grownup’s crop, switching to seeds when the chicks are older.

Western Gull

Bathed in golden dawn mild, a Western Gull chick, its head coated in black spots, holds what seems to be a fish dangling from its invoice. Nearer inspection of the picture, as photographer Carmen Cromer found, reveals the article is a bit of plastic trash—a stark reminder of our influence on the pure world. Widespread denizens of the Pacific coast, from Baja to Washington, Western Gulls have a generalist weight loss plan,  foraging waste at human landfills, chicks and eggs from different seabird colonies, bugs, and fish scraps caught by different birds and marine mammals. Western Gulls nest on the bottom in predator-free areas, amid low-lying vegetation or rocky terrain. Females usually lay three eggs, which hatch after 4 weeks. Chicks are semi-precocial, operating round freely after one week. Feathers emerge 15 days after hatching, which ages the chick right here at 2–3 weeks outdated, based mostly on the tiny nubbins of wing feathers. 

Japanese Screech-Owl

Look too rapidly, and also you simply would possibly miss the chick on this picture. Under the ruddy face of an Japanese Screech-Owl peering out of its spherical tree gap, the top of an owlet pokes out, solely the yellow eyes and curved invoice seen. Most Japanese Screech-Owls are grey, with solely 30 % boasting crimson plumage like that of the grownup owl on this photograph. Each shade morphs inhabit the identical area, and can even breed. Mates pair for all times, roosting collectively when not breeding and solely rearing younger collectively. Females do the heavy lifting throughout incubation, however the male will deliver meals to his mate to compensate. Though nestlings, just like the one on this photograph, depart their nest cavity 4 weeks after hatching, their dad and mom proceed to feed them for an extra 8 to 10 weeks. 

Western Kingbird

All lined up, 4 hungry juvenile Western Kingbirds sit on a wire, squawking at their father or mother and energetically demanding meals. Outnumbered, the grownup kingbird can solely feed one chick at a time. Wings outstretched for steadiness whereas gripping the wire, the father or mother stretches its head ahead to position a big grasshopper within the open mouth of the closest fledgling. Not like among the different species featured right here, Western Kingbird children look remarkably like their dad and mom, full with a grey breast and lemon-yellow stomach. Nevertheless, they lack their dad and mom’ brilliant crimson crests that flare when aggressively defending their territory. Kingbird chicks begin to develop their feathers inside 5 days after hatching, and can molt—dropping feathers and rising recent ones—into their darker, grownup plumage between fledging and their return to breed the next 12 months.

Gentoo Penguin

Captured mid-stride, with wings prolonged for steadiness, two juvenile Gentoo Penguins, their white breasts nonetheless coated in down, path behind an grownup penguin sporting modern black and white feathers. The three birds run alongside the rocky terrain of Bleaker Island within the Falkland Islands, the place photographer Lin Teichman encountered a comical spectacle: After the grownup penguins emerged from foraging within the sea, they might rush to find and feed their nestlings within the rookery—solely to be mobbed by chicks aggressively demanding the krill and fish, like these two juveniles. Gentoo Penguins breed throughout the Antarctic Peninsula and quite a few sub-Antarctic islands, and their weight loss plan varies drastically amongst colonies. Proficient predators, they chase after prey, diving as deep as 450 toes for fish. Penguin children enter the ocean for the primary time 70 days after hatching, however stay depending on parental feeding whereas they be taught to catch their very own meals.

Barn Swallow

Three juvenile Barn Swallows perch on a dead, desiccated flower stalk, snapped in half from the mass of the birds. To the right of the frame, gracefully in flight with wings fully outstretched, an adult Barn Swallow places a morsel of food in one of the lucky youngster’s mouths. The blue head and back feathers of all, the white breasts of the juveniles, and the ruddy face of the adult bird contrast sharply with the green background.
Barn Swallows. Photograph: Rehna Manavalan George/Audubon Pictures Awards

Three juvenile Barn Swallows perch on a useless, desiccated flower stalk that has snapped in half. With its wings gracefully outstretched, an aloft grownup Barn Swallow locations a tiny morsel of meals in a fortunate teen’s mouth. The blue head and again feathers, white breast, and ruddy face of the grownup hen present a glimpse of the hanging plumage these chicks will quickly sport. Widespread in rural areas, Barn Swallows assemble nests of mud and dried grass nearly solely on human-made buildings, comparable to underneath the eaves of homes, bridges, or their namesake barns. Outdated nests nonetheless in first rate form from the earlier 12 months get snagged early the next breeding season. Though one clutch a 12 months is typical, extra skilled females begin breeding earlier and may rear two broods. 

Piping Plover

The nice and cozy glow of a setting solar softly illuminates a Piping Plover father or mother and its downy chick. Almost camouflaged in opposition to the sand save for the intense orange base of its invoice, the grownup retains a watchful eye on any potential predators—together with photographer William Pully, who snapped this endearing photograph on Plum Island, Massachusetts. Each female and male Piping Plovers assist choose the nest website, normally only a small scrape or melancholy within the sand above the excessive tide line. Usually, they construct a number of scrapes inside their territory, taking as much as 10 days to pick a last website because the winner. Men and women additionally share incubation and brooding duties. Nevertheless, feminine Piping Plovers abandon their household inside just a few days of hatching, leaving the male to protect younger.

Widespread Goldeneye

As 5 Widespread Goldeneyes relaxation on a lichen-speckled rock, the mom, on the left, retains one eye open to fastidiously guard her 4 chicks, capped in black down and sporting a particular white cheek stripe. Nesting in cavities in useless timber or nest containers, feminine goldeneyes can lay as many as 17 blue-green eggs, which the feminine incubates for 30 days (males ditch tasks inside one to 2 weeks of egg laying). Quickly after hatching, the floofy chicks head to the water, the place mother watches over her raft of ducklings. Goldeneye children are precocial, studying to feed themselves as quickly as they depart the nest. They forage underwater for leeches, crustaceans, small minnows, and aquatic bugs, as photographer John Alexander Kay noticed earlier than the chicks took this nap.

Canada Goose

You have seen goslings earlier than, however by no means like this: A younger Canada Goose chick, coated in yellow and white down, stares instantly into the digicam. Beneath the watchful eyes of the father or mother, photographer Shane Kalyn used a telephoto lens whereas mendacity on his abdomen to seize this gorgeous photograph of the daring gosling. Within the background, the father or mother’s legs and physique empahsize the tiny measurement of the chick. Feminine Canada Geese lay as much as 11 eggs in a big open nest cup on the bottom. Whereas the male stands guard, the mom incubates the eggs for 4 weeks. Inside two days of hatching, downy goslings depart the nest and start diving and foraging for their very own meals, together with aquatic grasses, seeds, and small fish. Juvenile Canada Geese begin flying at seven to 9 weeks, studying their southward migratory route from following their dad and mom and different skilled adults

Inexperienced Heron

Three juvenile Inexperienced Herons stand on a department, their yellow toes and toes curled tightly round their woody perch. Their tawny brown again and head feathers, and brown-streaked breasts, glisten within the mild. The white tufts of down—and ungainly place—are the one clues to their awkward adolescent age. All three children peer upwards, the angle of their gaze directing an astute viewer to a big blue dragonfly, which one hen lastly caught and swallowed, in accordance with photographer Soo Baus. Inexperienced Herons breed within the japanese half of the USA close to water and in densely vegetated areas, setting up platform nests of sticks in timber as much as 30 toes tall. They usually increase not more than 5 chicks, which might fly as early as three weeks post-hatching. Even so, each dad and mom could feed their offspring for a month after fledging.


A fuzzy brown Limpkin chick with a protracted, bicolored invoice sits low on the bottom, tucked amongst a mixture of useless brown grass and recent, inexperienced blades. Photographer John Morales had skilled his digicam on the massive grownup Limpkin standing within the reeds on the water’s edge in Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Florida when he observed a darkish lump—the small chick—off to the facet. Utilizing their lengthy, barely curved payments, Limpkins nearly solely devour apple snails, a freshwater species. The dad and mom will deliver unopened shells to the nest website and extract the snail whereas the chick watches earlier than hungrily gobbling up the meat. Kids begin capturing and consuming snails on their very own after 5 weeks, bettering their snail processing time rapidly. Limpkins have been hunted to close extinction in Florida within the 1900s, and although their numbers have elevated, they’re nonetheless a part of the Imperiled Species Administration Plan by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee. 

Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal. Photograph: Peter Cavanagh/Audubon Pictures Awards

Clutching the facet of a tree and utilizing its iridescent tail feathres for assist, an grownup Resplendent Quetzal locations a big damselfly into the open mouth of a younger chick. The nestling pokes its head out of a cavity within the tree, mouth absolutely open to just accept the massive insect. The marginally muted colours of the grownup’s head and chest on this picture ID the quetzal as a feminine; the male has a definite inexperienced crest and showier tail. Photographer Peter Cavanagh captured the beautiful element utilizing a digicam with an enormous telephoto lens mounted on a tripod for stability within the forest’s dim mild. Cavanagh timed the picture via cautious statement, noting that the dad and mom flew to an intermediate perch 60 toes from the nest website earlier than delivering every meals merchandise. Quickly after he snapped this photograph, the younger chick and its nestmate fledged from the cavity, swooping right down to the forest ground. Native to Central America, Resplendent Quetzals are listed as Close to Threatened by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature due to a quickly declining inhabitants as a consequence of deforestation. 

Japanese Bluebird

Three younger birds, not too long ago fledged from their nest field, sit on a department, their white bellies and speckled breasts clearly marking them as juveniles. In lower than a 12 months, these birds will sport the good royal blue of their species: Japanese Bluebird. One among three bluebird species in North America, Japanese Bluebirds inhabit the japanese half of the USA. They breed within the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, notably on farmland, alongside roadsides, and in comparatively open habitats. Their inhabitants declined with deforestation, because the birds nest naturally in tree holes, however their numbers have rebounded with the set up of synthetic cavities. Belonging to the thrush household, Japanese Bluebirds nest readily in yard hen containers, and older birds even want them. Take into account constructing a bluebird nest field to draw breeding bluebirds to your yard.


A yellow and brown fluffy Mallard chick sits on the water, the only focus of the photographer’s lens. 4 different Mallard poofballs float within the foreground, softly blurred to emphasise the central chick and its head, tilted upwards—seemingly considering the abundance of flying aquatic bugs above its head. Though Mallards do eat bugs, they primarily forage within the water by dabbling, dipping their head and neck underwater and sticking their butts within the air as they pluck seeds and pull roots and different plant materials. Chicks begin feeding themselves as quickly as they enter the water, lower than 24 hours after hatching, primarily feeding on small crustaceans, fish eggs, and invertebrates from land or water. When ducklings are nearer to a few weeks outdated, they progress to looking for aquatic plant bits.

Clark’s Grebe

The brilliant yellow invoice, crimson eye, and sharp black cap of this grownup Clark’s Grebe stand out in sharp distinction to the hen’s white physique and watery blue body. A big, downy grey chick rides on its father or mother’s again—maybe too giant to nonetheless accomplish that—its breast simply barely skimming the water floor. Photographer Kriztina Scheeff snapped this photograph from a ship whereas holding her digicam in her fingers—not a simple feat to seize such a crisp picture. Scheef has a watch for grebes: Her photograph of a Western Grebe household additionally gained a spot in Audubon’s showcase of lovable chick pictures from the 2021 Audubon Pictures Awards. Till 1985, Western Grebes and Clark’s Grebes have been thought of to be two shade morphs of the identical species—Clark’s a paler, white morph. Nevertheless, DNA evaluation revealed that the 2 morphs hardly ever interbreed although they stay collectively in combined colonies, indicating separate species. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *