Why do birds leave the nest before they can fly?

It’s to some young birds’ advantage to leave the nest as soon as they can. People tend to think of nests as safe, cozy little homes. But predators have a pretty easy time finding a nest full of loud baby birds, and nests can be hotbeds for parasites. So parent birds work from sunrise to sunset every day to get their young grown and out of the nest as quickly as possible. After fledging, the young birds are more spread out in the area, and the parents can lead them to different spots every night, enhancing each one’s chances of survival. Some types of birds, like swallows, woodpeckers, and other cavity-nesters, nest where there are no nearby branches for young to awkwardly grab onto when they first leave the nest. Unless startled by a predator, young of these species tend to remain in the nest until they are strong fliers.

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