flamingo chick

A flamingo chick stands up for a stretch. Image taken at the San Francisco Zoo.

This flamingo chick is standing on a mud mound nest that is around 12 inches high, so that it won’t flood, and near shallow pools of water, offering it some protection from predators. Its parents have a pretty unique trait among birds; they can produce a type of “milk,” a trait they share in common with pigeons. This lucky chick will feed off that milk while its in the nest.

seagull chicks

Three seagull chicks came out from hiding to explore the cliff side. Image taken at the sea lion caves in Florence, Oregon.

I almost missed these little guys with their stellar camouflage, perfect for hiding out on rocky cliffs.

cliff swallow chicks

Cliff swallow chicks waiting for one of their parents to return with food. Image taken in Northern California.

Cliff swallows’ nests are found on cliffs, buildings and bridges and are comprised of tiny mud pellets. These birds will often nest in huge colonies, so parents can detect their own chicks by their vocalizations alone. In fact, scientists have recorded chicks voices and played them back to see if the right set of parents would come, and sure enough, the parents came to their chicks’ calls. Given this, you might think that barn swallows are really good parents, but I’m not so sure. After all, it is a lot of work and cliff swallows are known to lay their eggs in another swallow’s nest or to lay an egg in their nest and then carry it in their beak to another bird’s nest. Ha! On the other hand, I have read accounts where one parent dies and the other diligently continues to work for two and raise the brood on their own. Impressive.

peafowl

A peahen makes her way around the barnyard, followed closely by her peachicks. Image taken at West Coast Game Park Safari in Bandon, Oregon.

Peahens are one of the solo parents in the bird world, not getting any help from the peacocks. These chicks are able to walk, forage for food and follow mom immediately after hatching. In the science world, young that are fairly independent from birth or hatching are called precocial animals. And here’s a close up of one of the chicks:

Peachick

A peachick takes large steps to climb over the grass and follow it's mom. Image taken at West Coast Game Park Safari in Bandon, Oregon.

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