Sunny July days bring so much more than warm weather, beach outings and good vibes – they bring us our baby birds!

As we turn the corner into July, we are leaving the nesting season in our rearview and for many of us, are already beginning to see this year’s chicks blossom into young fledglings as they begin to develop and learn to use their wings.

At this point, these young fledglings are likely between two and five weeks old and can cause a little bit of confusion to even the most seasoned birder. As these birds grow older, they will soon develop their colourful, identifiable plumage and markings but until then, can be a challenge to identify while out in the field.

With many reports of young fledglings coming in through our Facebook Group, we thought it would be fitting to discuss some of the easier ways to properly identify young bird species this time of year.

Bills

Fledglings are nearly unmistakable due to their “incomplete” looks. As they leave the nest, fledglings are incredibly underdeveloped other than their bill, which can look far too large for the bird’s head. Given that their feathers have not grown in around the bill, it can be one of the most identifiable features on your birds.

Eyes

Much the same as their bills, the eyes on fledglings can also look much too big for their heads and can give birders another key to easy identification.

Erratic Flight

No judgement here, they are just learning how to spread their wings! As such, fledglings can easily be picked out of a crowd by their erratic flight patterns, hovering or other unique maneuvers as they learn how to properly fly.

Feathers

While their colouring will not be exact, some of the markings should begin to appear on this year’s chicks. Have a close look at both the bill and any unique markings or colorations to positively id fledglings as well.