I spotted this little fledgling on my second day at Muirshiel Country Park. It was on the path in front of me begging for food from its parents in the trees. As soon as it saw me coming along the path it scampered into cover. My friend calls it ‘Silly Fledgling Season’ for a reason.
This little one has taken the big jump from the nest and has not quite got the hang of flying yet, but if you look close enough you can see it has well developed feathers on its wings for flying it just needs to build up its flying muscles a little to get in the air.
A common misconception when humans find fledgling birds like this is we think they are alone and helpless and require our help. Quite a lot of the time this is not the case, as you can see from the zoomed out image the fledglings hiding spot is fairly concealed. Perhaps if it wasn’t being a little ‘silly’ on the path for too long it would have had time to make it into the longer grass and if I had not seen the fledgling move into the grass and was just walking by, it would be easily overlooked.
My main advice if you come across a fledgling like this and there is no immediate threat in the vicinity like an approaching cat, would be to keep your distance (10 – 12m away) or watch through a window for the lovely sight of the fledgling’s parents coming back and forth to feed it.
This waiting can be nerve wracking and take a bit of time as the parents might have just fed the fledgling and started to go out foraging again, so it may be some time before their return. Just be patient and remember the pictures I have shown you today, fledglings know to instinctively head to cover and hide if something unusual gets too close, their parents will continue to feed them on the ground and with a little time and exercise they will soon be flying in the air.