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New kids on the block

It’s that time of year: baby (and, by now, adolescent) birds everywhere, including this duckling that naturalist Neal Maine spotted standing on a lily pad in a Clatsop Plains dune swale lake in May. Over the years lots of young birds have found themselves the focus of Neal’s telephoto lens. Here are a few of his favorite baby bird photos from recent years. Some birds were born and reared in nests on North Coast Land Conservancy property. All of them were nourished in some way by the healthy habitat NCLC conserves and connects on Oregon’s North Coast.

Neal has been closely observing this bald eagle nest on our Spirit Lake Habitat Reserve in Warrenton all spring and summer, from nest-building and courtship to fledging. Here the babies are getting a bite to eat.


Neal spotted this killdeer nest at Sea Ranch RV Park in Cannon Beach.


This cedar waxwing nest was hidden in among blackberry vines at Thompson Creek and Stanley Lake Habitat Reserve in Seaside. Neal watched the parent cough up nine salal berries to feed to its young. Note the band on the adult bird’s leg; Neal wasn’t able to see the numbers on it, but it’s likely that it was banded by Astoria naturalist Mike Patterson.


This dipper is gathering moss for its nest under a bridge at Klaskanine Salmon Hatchery near Olney.


Neal photographed this baby bushtit, peeking out of the nest, in a Sitka spruce at Carruthers Memorial Park on the Warrenton waterfront.


To build their nests, barn swallows begin by gathering grass that they carry to the water’s edge where the mud is just the right consistency; they saturate the grass and fly it back to the nest site, repeating the process over and over. Neal caught the action at Little Pompey Wetland, just steps from the shops in Cannon Beach. If passers-by notice birds in the wetland, it’s usually the red-winged blackbirds, Neal says; at the right time of year, you don’t have to look much harder to see the swallows at work


These Bewick’s wrens have been nesting in a vintage fishing creel hanging on the side of a house in Gearhart for several years; here one of the parents pauses before delivering a grub to the babies waiting inside.


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