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

Who doesn’t love a great child chicken photograph? These 16 photographs submitted to the 2022 Audubon Images Awards are all cute, sure, however they additionally seize temporary moments within the various lives of younger birds. Documenting each vital milestones of growth, like feather progress, and extra entertaining moments, like hangry chicks, these pictures grant us a peek into the intimate relationships between mother and father and their younger.

Taking pictures of wildlife responsibly ought to all the time be a high precedence, particularly on the subject of mother and father and their offspring. The photographers featured under all stored chicken security on the forefront, utilizing telephoto lenses and continually observing birds for indicators of stress. It’s extraordinarily vital to keep away from approaching a nest or disturbing the birds. How would possibly you recognize if you happen to’re too shut? To defend their younger, some species will fly at your head and try to attract blood (taking a look at 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 assist you to {photograph} birds as safely as potential.

Though these 16 pictures could not have clinched a win within the 2022 awards (take time to peruse the total winners and the Prime 100 pictures), they have been victorious of their distinctive captures. Proceed studying to study every species’ breeding habits—and put together to gush over all these cute child birds. Impressed by all of the cuteness? Submit your personal gorgeous pictures to this yr’s Audubon Images 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 chicken disappearing down the mouth of a second chicken. Wings unfold vast for steadiness, with a stubby tail and gaping yellow mouth, a younger American Dipper squawks demandingly at its guardian whereas concurrently receiving meals. Photographer Kate Individuals snapped this second after two of the 4 chicks fledged the nest and each mother and father 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 in some way popping in opposition to the mossy-green tree cover. Raindrops sparkle on the ideas of blurred pine needles within the foreground—the one clue that photographer Rehna George captured this scene in the beginning of a night rain bathe. Mourning Doves inhabit many of the United States and Mexico year-round, readily adapting to human-altered landscapes. A typical yard chicken, they thrive in disturbed roadsides and concrete areas, in addition to extra pure grasslands and woods. They’ll increase six totally different broods per yr—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 mother and father 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 lined 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 item is a chunk of plastic trash—a stark reminder of our affect 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 previous, primarily based on the tiny nubbins of wing feathers. 

Japanese Screech-Owl

Look too shortly, 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 p.c boasting pink 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 carry meals to his mate to compensate. Though nestlings, just like the one on this photograph, go away their nest cavity 4 weeks after hatching, their mother and father 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 guardian 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 guardian stretches its head ahead to position a big grasshopper within the open mouth of the closest fledgling. In contrast to among the different species featured right here, Western Kingbird kids look remarkably like their mother and father, full with a grey breast and lemon-yellow stomach. Nevertheless, they lack their mother and father’ brilliant pink 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 yr.

Gentoo Penguin

Captured mid-stride, with wings prolonged for steadiness, two juvenile Gentoo Penguins, their white breasts nonetheless lined in down, path behind an grownup penguin sporting smooth 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 tremendously amongst colonies. Proficient predators, they chase after prey, diving as deep as 450 toes for fish. Penguin kids enter the ocean for the primary time 70 days after hatching, however stay depending on parental feeding whereas they study 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 Images 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 chicken 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 beneath the eaves of homes, bridges, or their namesake barns. Outdated nests nonetheless in first rate form from the earlier yr get snagged early the next breeding season. Though one clutch a yr 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 guardian and its downy chick. Practically 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 web site, often 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 remaining web site because the winner. Women and men additionally share incubation and brooding duties. Nevertheless, feminine Piping Plovers abandon their household inside a number of 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 bushes or nest bins, 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 kids are precocial, studying to feed themselves as quickly as they go away 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’ve got seen goslings earlier than, however by no means like this: A younger Canada Goose chick, lined in yellow and white down, stares straight into the digicam. Below the watchful eyes of the guardian, 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 guardian’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 go away 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 mother and father 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 kids peer upwards, the angle of their gaze directing an astute viewer to a big blue dragonfly, which one chicken lastly caught and swallowed, in keeping with photographer Soo Baus. Inexperienced Herons breed within the japanese half of the US close to water and in densely vegetated areas, setting up platform nests of sticks in bushes 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 mother and father 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 educated his digicam on the big 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 aspect. Utilizing their lengthy, barely curved payments, Limpkins nearly solely devour apple snails, a freshwater species. The mother and father will carry unopened shells to the nest web site 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 shortly. 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 Images Awards

Clutching the aspect of a tree and utilizing its iridescent tail feathres for help, 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 totally open to just accept the big 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 remark, noting that the mother and father flew to an intermediate perch 60 toes from the nest web site earlier than delivering every meals merchandise. Quickly after he snapped this photograph, the younger chick and its nestmate fledged from the cavity, swooping all the way down to the forest flooring. 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 resulting from deforestation. 

Japanese Bluebird

Three younger birds, lately fledged from their nest field, sit on a department, their white bellies and speckled breasts clearly marking them as juveniles. In lower than a yr, these birds will sport the sensible royal blue of their species: Japanese Bluebird. Certainly one of three bluebird species in North America, Japanese Bluebirds inhabit the japanese half of the US. 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 chicken bins, and older birds even want them. Think about 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 real 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 previous, they progress to looking for aquatic plant bits.

Clark’s Grebe

The brilliant yellow invoice, pink eye, and sharp black cap of this grownup Clark’s Grebe stand out in sharp distinction to the chicken’s white physique and watery blue body. A big, downy grey chick rides on its guardian’s again—maybe too giant to nonetheless achieve this—its breast simply barely skimming the water floor. Photographer Kriztina Scheeff snapped this photograph from a ship whereas holding her digicam in her palms—not a straightforward 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 cute chick pictures from the 2021 Audubon Images 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 not often interbreed though they dwell collectively in blended colonies, indicating separate species. 

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