Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The season for baby velociraptors

'Tis the season for baby velociraptors. Everywhere we look, we're seeing awkward half-grown birds in that leggy adolescent stage in which they simply look like little dinosaurs.

Where turkeys are concerned, of course, even the adults look primitive.

But the babies even more so. Some passed through our yard the other day, under the watchful eyes of their mamas.

There's something endearing about the gangling awkwardness of the kids.

In the same family but less prehistoric-looking are the ring-necked pheasants. The other day I heard a commotion in our pasture, just over a slight swale and therefore out of sight. When I looked out the window, I saw a young female pheasant perched upon a rail, agitated by something.

On the ground below her was (presumably) her mama, also agitated. My guess is a coyote dashed into the family group, trying to grab a bite and scattering everyone in the process.

I grabbed my camera and walked quietly toward the pasture. Silently, a bird sank down to the ground, watching me warily. I zoomed in and saw a juvenile male pheasant.

We eyed each other for a few seconds while I snapped a couple more nearly identical shots. Then I made an incautious move, and four siblings I hadn't noticed (even though they were closer to me) all exploded into flight at the same time. (This is a survival strategy, by the way. Startle the predator so they have a chance to get away.) Pheasants are cagey birds, and it pleased me to grab the photo of this handsome young boy before he got away.

Not to be outdone by other ground birds, we also have quail. They're kind of hard to see in the photo below (which is the whole idea, I suppose), but there's a mama, papa, and baby.

Sadly, this baby is all that remains of a previously large hatch of at least 10, perhaps 12, chicks we've seen running around.

The babies aren't much more than walking Chicken McNuggets at this age, so it's not surprising so many went missing.

So there you go. The season for baby velociraptors.


  1. Don't know about your location but around here the number one killer of baby quail are BlueJays. Not sure why but they always attack the baby Quail.

  2. I've seen a bunch of Mama's and baby turkeys crossing the highway down here too lately . It makes the heart Happy !
    Weeks ago I went to empty a very large pot which had filled with water, and behold ! It looked full of minnows, which of course we're tadpoles. Because of heavy rains I scooped a bunch out and put them another 25 gal pot so they wouldn't wash out over the sides, and a few days later noticed a multitude of frog eggs.
    Today, I checked and the eggs hatched! There's now a multitude of tiny tadpoles! It looks like they're all swimming around saying "yippee"!
    Both pots are full of mosquito larvae and algae, both of which are tadpole food. Probably why they seem so happy and excited. (I'm going to put my mosquito zapper there to keep the grownups reduced ). Things like to eat fogs too so not many will make it.
    New life is so exciting!
    God is so good!

  3. We have a lot running around now as well. We call them Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. At that age they are ugly ducklings. Fun to watch them mob around, couple of parents and lots of littles.