Readers’ wildlife photos

April 13, 2021 • 8:00 am

Alas, alas, the photo tank
Is running rather low;
I ask you to send pictures in,
Or this feature soon will go.

But today we have a series of bird development photos (and, as lagniappe, of a rescue kitty) by Leo Glenn. Leo’s captions are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

It’s been a while since I’ve contributed photos, but I wanted to heed your pleas. My photos are poorly organized, so it’s always a time-consuming process to put a collection together. I’ve created a “For Jerry” folder now, though, so hopefully the frequency of my contributions will increase. With spring just around the corner, I selected a series of photos I took in 2013. We were fortunate to have a robin build a nest in the cherry tree in our front yard at a height that allowed me to take photos. I thought it might be interesting to take a photo each day to track the growth of the chicks. The photos aren’t the greatest quality, as I tried to be as quick as possible to minimize the amount of disturbance (and taking the photos required some climbing), but I thought the speed of their growth was remarkable, and maybe of interest to your readers. They went from hatchlings to fledglings in 13 days.

American Robins (Turdus migratorius)

Day one – You can see the hole in the egg, partially covered by the first chick’s wing, where the second chick is beginning to peck its way out.

Day three:

Day five:


Day seven: I had to double check the date stamp on this photo, as it didn’t seem possible that they could have grown so much in two days. But it’s correct.

Day nine:

Day eleven:

Day thirteen:  One had already fledged, but I managed to get a shot of this one, still sitting on the nest.

And finally, for the ailurophiles, this poor fellow showed up at our doorstep in November of 2019, in seriously bad shape. He was emaciated (he weighed only 6.5 lbs), covered in fleas and ticks, and was in what appeared to be the final throes of a severe respiratory infection. We already have two rescue cats, and his prospects looked pretty dim, but my daughter insisted that we do what we could for him.

And here he is today. Meet Arty, my shadow and constant companion. His health is still very fragile. He’s a severe asthmatic, has a compromised immune system, and is on several daily medications. We’ve had three emergency vet visits, involving several days on oxygen, with antibiotic and steroid injections, but he’s a tough little guy.

16 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

    1. We couldn’t decide between Arthur and Artemus (after Artemus Gordon, the inventor/sidekick in the 1960s TV series, Wild Wild West). So I guess it depends on which family member you ask. My vote was for the latter.

  1. Day thirteen: One had already fledged

    I remember growing pains, when I was an early teen and grew a few inches one year. Makes you wonder what these little birds feel like, going through that transformation over a mere 14 days. Other than the constant hunger…

    1. I’ve wondered the same thing about dinosaurs. Regarding the cat, I suspect, as Arty is not the first to show up at our doorstep in dire straits, that there is a notice board for stray cats somewhere with our address on it that says, “Go here if you are sick or in need of medical attention.”

    2. There is fairly good evidence that dinosaurs could grow pretty fast. You get growth marks in the bones which are logically comparable to tree rings – but I don’t think a particularly comparable mechanism.
      But … like other animals, their growth rates have been shown to vary within an individual through time. Which is what you’d expect, but you need a lot of fossilized, found and identified juvenile bone to demonstrate it. There are enough Tyrannosaurus juveniles, for example that people are confidant in claiming that they go through two periods of differing growth rate in their sub-mature years. So, for example they take around 14 years to reach the two-tonne mark, but in the next 2-3 years shoot up to an adult weight of 5 to 6 tonnes.
      What was that animatronic plant that sang “Feed Me!” all the time?

      1. That’s fascinating. The volume of food they would have had to consume to grow at that rate must have been astonishing. Like Audrey II!

        1. It’s a lot to chew on. Studying the ecology of … well, ecologies which have a few percent of their components preserved, and likely strong biases about what does get preserved … a difficult job. People try, but it’s not simple.

  2. Wonderful time-lapse photos of birds. Might I ask, how old was Arty when you got him? Very hard to guess the age, as severe illnesses make one look older than they may be.

    1. Thank you. He was so small and underweight when he first came to us that we thought he might be under a year old. But our vet estimated his age at 5-7 years.

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