It was a lot of fun photographing adult Gray Catbirds earlier this year and photographing the juveniles learning to be on their own as been equally fun and entertaining.
Juvenile Gray Catbird peeking out of a thicket – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I have been seeing lots of juvenile Gray Catbirds lately and I am quite happy about that because it means they had a successful breeding season at least in the canyon where I have been photographing them since early spring. The juvenile Gray Catbirds I have been watching haven’t had adults feeding them and I haven’t seen them begging to be fed so I believe they are learning to be on their own and hunting for food by themselves.
Messy juvenile Gray Catbird – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Some of the juvenile catbirds look a bit messy because they are molting into their “First Basic” or “Basic I” plumage, they still don’t have the chestnut under-tail coverts that the adult have. Messy or not they are still handsome birds in my opinion.
Alert Gray Catbird juvenile – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The pale gapes of these juvenile Gray Catbirds are still visible, they won’t be pale when these juveniles reach adulthood.
It has been great to watch these young Gray Catbirds learn how to be on their own and I have enjoyed my time with them, it won’t be long before they migrate and I hope to spend more time with them before they go.
Life is good.
Gape: In bird anatomy, the gape is the interior of the open mouth of a bird, and the gape flange is the region where the two mandibles join together at the base of the beak.