Juveniles of June

Born in April or May, many birds and mammals begin to lose their baby features by June and have assumed juvenile behaviors. Not yet fully independent, they wander further from their parents and, in the case of mammals, have developed that lanky appearance of adolescents. Young squirrels and cottontails abound in our neighborhoods while lean fox and coyote pups wander the farmlands, eventually breaking free of their family unit. Spotted fawns, kept secluded for the first weeks of life, now join their mothers on dusk shrouded meadows and young birds, as large as the harried parents, chase their providers about the forest, demanding handouts at every stop. Out in the wetlands, young geese and ducks, having entered that ugly, teenager phase, mingle with the more attractive adults.

Unlike higher primates (including humans), most wild creatures pass through childhood in a matter of months, quickly severing the parental bond; other exceptions include whales, bears and some carnivores but none come close to the slow maturation and prolonged dependence of the human child. The juveniles of June, venturing alone into the wilderness, highlight the fragility of our own species.