A bow to the hard-working parents

By now, many breeding birds in Germany have seen their first clutch of the season fledge and grow to weaning age, a moment not all chicks are looking forward to. The many great tits born around my block from at least three different clutches are unwilling to embrace independence and claim it conspicuously. Parents can be seen escaping swarms of hungry juveniles, now master of flight, loudly and relentlessly gaping for food.

The young already know how to pick up food on their own but prefer it served on a plate beak, so much that they sometimes beg great tits other than their parents and even blue tits!

Parents are now cutting loose Continue reading

Return of the mystery bird

This post is related to: Guest of Honor (additional hawfinch photos)


Despite ranging extensively across Eurasia and north Africa and current population estimates reaching up to 5 millions for Europe alone, hawfinches (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) are commonly known to be shy, elusive and unobtrusive birds—they are sometimes called “mystery birds” for that reason. None of these qualities seem to apply to Continue reading

Embryo & shell

This common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) and sibling did not make it past their embryo stage of development. The broken eggs were found this morning shortly after falling from the nest.

Eurasian jays may be to blame: these large birds are particularly active and efficient predators in the area. It is common to Continue reading

Guest of honor

This handsome male hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) paid a visit to my bird feeder today. I had my camera handy and could capture simple sights of him during the few seconds he struck the pose, curious and undecisive.

Despite their vast range, these stunning looking birds, easily recognizable by their large, sturdy beak, are habitually shy and challenging to observe. I had recently spotted Continue reading

Blackcap fledglings

Here are some photos of Eurasian blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) fledglings.

I discovered the nest well hidden in a small bush two days ago. The nestlings all fledged early this morning and I was lucky enough to be there for this special moment. I could spot three of them briefly popping their heads out of the thick vegetation before Continue reading

Jay the ripper

Eurasian jay

Meet “Jay” the ripper… Credit: Yalakom

The past couple of days have been rough for the great tit couple that nests in front of my apartment building. An Eurasian jay viciously hunted down several of their fledglings, killing at least two and injuring three. Knowing Eurasian jays prey on great and blue tit chicks is one thing, witnessing the brutal hunt is another. I had never suspected my spring watch would take such a dramatic turn.

The great tits built their nest inside a street lamp post, 2.5 meters off the ground, a smart choice in an urban environment where nesting cavities are scarce. I kept an eye and ear on the nest to try guessing when the chicks would fledge, always a special moment to attend.

Two days ago, I was awoken by a concert of alarm calls. Two great tits were flying in circle around a high branch of the large oak tree that stands across from my window. A jay soon came in sight Continue reading

Season’s goslings

Some greylag goslings (Anser anser) from a nearby pond. The parents are impressively relaxed among humans and even approach those who sit on the benches, begging for food. Here are some photographs of this lovely family of seven taken with a 55-200mm Nikkor lens.

Location: Bayreuth, Germany


If you enjoyed this bird story, you may also like: