Monday, June 22, 2009

Itty bitty wings 'n' things

In today's blog, I'm featuring a few itty bitty birds with teeny tiny wings. The first one is so small you might not see it at first...

Oh there he is! It's another Black-chinned Hummingbird. This one was a little bit stressed so he didn't fly away right away. But after a few minutes and a perfect photo opp, he buzzed off just fine.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

I think this one was a young adult (second year) male. Note that he doesn't have the full black throat like the adult male below. He just has the little speckling. The female's throat is mostly all white, making them easy to confuse with the female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Adult male for comparison, showing his little tiny wing!

The other tiny bird we got this week was the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Just slightly bigger than a bushtit, the BG-Gnat weighs only around 6 grams.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - Adult

Juvenile Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Along with the adult BG Gnat, we caught this juvenile (Hatch year) Gnatcatcher on the same day. We actually caught him twice, the second time he was caught right next to his mom (or dad?). Bird parents are very protective of their little fledglings. And sometimes if they see their baby caught in the net, they'll dive right in after them.
Another picture of the Bushtit for comparison. They are similar in size to the Gnatcatcher and about the same color as the juvenile Gnatcatcher. But the bushtit's bill color and shape look much more chickadee-like. The Gnatcatcher is beginning to develop a white ring around its eyes and has darker tail feathers like the adult.
As summer continues, we are getting more and more baby birdies. Right now we are halfway through the season, so hopefully there will many more fledgling photos to come.

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