Apr 2, 2011

Baby birds at home and abroad

Let's compare some baby birds found in the wild to their domesticated counterparts.

First up is a set of Western scrub-jays, native to western North America, in their natural habitat. This is how I typically imagine baby birds: giant, gaping beaks, skin stretched tightly over bulbous eyes, optional pinhole eye openings, scrawny necks, and transparent skin.

Photo source: the Register-Guard

Also in our wild lineup are some baby finches sporting crinkly yellow beaks and dubious tufts of down:

Photo source: Boing Boing

Now for the creatures we have invited into our own homes. Eastern Rosella parrots are prized for their brightly colored plumage, of which they give no hint early in life:

Photo source: http://www.parrot-bird.com/

Top honors, however, may belong to baby cockatiels, native to Australia but now common household pets throughout the world. Cockatiels are the second most popular companion parrot species (after budgies) and are known for their gentle and sociable natures. This outstanding specimen has been photographed mid-poop:

Photo uploaded by user tamaralynn24

Observe the veiny skull, sealed eyes, wrinkly neck and leg, full crop, arthritic-looking claws, and Chia pet-style down. This is truly the stuff of which dream pets are made.

So who wins the ugliness contest: baby birds in the wild or baby birds at home? Cast your vote in the comments!


Anonymous said...

It has to be a tie - they are all ugly!!!

Peggy said...

I think the cockatiel is the ugliest. But you should have included wild baby Kildeer. They hit the ground running and are extremely cute even when first hatched.

Raging Wombat said...

I'm going to have nightmares of encountering that baby cockatiel, only, this time it will be in a dark alleyway, and it'll be seven feet tall.

XJ said...

Oh man, that baby cockatiel wins hands-down for UGLIEST EVER. The poop is just the icing on the ugly cake.

Katie Kleber said...

the cockateil wins - totally, the finches are actually cute with the fluffy heads.

Anonymous said...

OMG, it's Watto from Star Wars: Episode 1!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I guess the cockatiel wins, with what looks like little buck teeth and grass growing out of his back...but still a cute, helpless baby. Most baby birds are still embryonic when hatched. Even a human baby born very early...say at 22-24 weeks, is more developed than these (full-term) baby birdies. I'd say they are equivalent to a 12 week human fetus, at least in external development.