Bird Life Cycles

By Kristen James; Updated April 24, 2017
Birds can live to be 10 years old.

Many birds migrate as a part of their life cycle, and most build a nest from sticks, mud or other material. Birds can live just two or three years to around 10.

Incubation

Birds begin their life inside an egg.

Birds begin their life inside a hard egg. One or both of the parent birds will sit on the eggs to keep them warm until they hatch.

Nestlings

When the birds hatch they're called nestlings.

When the birds hatch, they’re called nestlings. The nestlings have little or no features, so a parent continues to sit on the nest for a few days. Then parent birds will bring them food so they can grow.

Fledglings

Nestlings grow into fledglings.

The nestlings grow into fledglings, which begin to feed themselves but still need their parents. Birds leave their parents and the nest at the end of this stage.

Courtship

Some species of bird will migrate in the fall.

Some species of bird migrate in the fall after they’ve reached adulthood. Others will stay in the same region. Courtship varies between different birds and happens during migration for birds that migrate. It begins usually in late winter to early spring.

Nesting

The female typically builds the nest.

Next, the couple will build the nest. Most of the time, the female builds it. In some species such as a wren, the male will build the nest to attract the female.

Mating

Once the nest is completed the couple will mate.

After the nest is completed, the couple mates and the female lays eggs to begin the life cycle again.

About the Author

Kristen James began writing at an early age in 1992 and was soon submitting novels to publishers. Now she has three published novels including "The River People," owns Bravado Publishing and is a staff editor for "Kype Magazine." Her articles appear on eHow, Happy News and Big Whiskey Journal. James graduated from Umpqua Community College and studied creative writing at Southern Oregon University.