The first successful breeding of Sandhill Cranes in Worcester County was documented in Hardwick this summer. Family group seen here on 27 June shows colts at about 6-7 weeks of age.
Throughout June and most of July, each colt was "supervised" by one of the parent birds and kept apart from its sibling, probably a parental strategy to reduce aggression between the two young birds, which can be intense in some cases. Photo 18 July.
On August 10 all four birds flew several hundred yards together, moving from a favored uphill foraging spot to the location where they usually started their afternoon downhill walk to a large grass expanse at the edge of a beaver pond marsh. Before the colts could fly well, the family spent the night at the pond edge, mostly hidden in the marsh vegetation.
The Sandhill Crane family established a daily routine of walking and foraging as a group through three adjacent Hardwick properties. This photo 4 July. All crane photos by Alan Rawle.
As the colts matured the family foursome comingled more frequently. On a hot 28 July the parent birds stood sentry as the young birds bathed in a shallow farm pond.
During August all cranes seemed to spend more time exercising their wings. Photo 20 August.
Hardwick Sandhill Crane family 27 August, shortly before they took wing and began expanding their home range to other locations in Hardwick and New Braintree. They are expected to stay in the area until November before moving to a milder region for the winter.
Female Wood Duck with one of her ducklings in Rutland 25 June. Photo by Doug Wipf.
A Downy Woodpecker fledgling and male parent were observed by Anne Greene in Rutland.
By August 1st Eastern Bluebirds in Hardwick were raising their second brood. Photo by Alan Rawle.
Two fledgling Gray Catbirds use a convenient perch while waiting to be fed by their parents on July 4 in Hardwick.
This juvenile Song Sparrow found on September 4th represented a second brood, a common event in this species. Photo by Alan Rawle.
Ted Purcell monitored the successful nesting of a pair of American Kestrels in Rutland. These juveniles were present on July 29.
Anne Greene observed this Tufted Titmouse parent and fledgling at close range in Rutland.
A pair of Turkey Vultures in Hardwick chose an abandoned treehouse on a quiet property abutting forest land as a nesting site. The fledglings remained out of sight for many weeks, but started venturing out to the balcony to wait for their feedings around the end of July. On 7 August this chick was still covered in fluffy down feathers.
By August 13 both young vultures were beginning to grow black feathers on their wings. All vulture photos by Alan Rawle.
At the end of August the juveniles were venturing away from the treehouse and spending time exploring on the ground, retreating when disturbed by heading to a tree near the treehouse and climbing the trunk and low branches. Photo 27 August.
Eastern Kingbird fledgling on July 4. Photo by Alan Rawle.
A Downy Woodpecker fledgling photographed as it begs for food (which arrived soon after this photo by Anne Greene was taken).
Birds that frequent backyard feeders often bring their offspring to the feeder area to be fed. Doug Wipf spotted this Rose-breasted Grosbeak feeding a juvenile male on July 14.
A male White-breasted Nuthatch found a stable feeding platform for feeding one of his fledglings. Photo by Anne Greene.