Townsend's Solitaire fledgling is now a juvenile

Observers: Donna Willey
Date: 08/20/2007
Time: 07:28 PM -0400

Here it is approximately 4 weeks since the Solitaire's fledged their 2 young chicks and although I cannot say with certainty that both have survived I do know that at least 1 of the young solitaires lives and flourishes, with its' parents help, in the riparian habitat where it was hatched. The chick has the darkly spotted breast of a juvenile; it looks very dissimilar from its' adult parents. Upon first leaving the nest it looked like a dark, medium-sized ball-of-fluff, heavily spotted. Now, although the spotting remains it has the buff wing bars of its' kind and is developing the long wing and tail feathers strongly reminiscent of its' parents. It enjoys being close to or on the ground, thrush-like. However, it is not adverse to spending long minutes high in aspen or pine trees along the creek. The several times that I have spotted this young juvenile, as I photographed him, he landed at my feet and I had to stop with my nikon has he jabbed his beak into the rubber tip of my shoe and then commenced searching for insects at my feet. The purity of the young, the ingenuousness of bird or mammal that has not yet come fully to terms with the insult that life eventually brings to us all, will forever bring me joy. Perhaps, speaking as a woman, this is why the young are beheld with such pleasure and poignancy. Something we've had, something we've lost.