A bird in the hand…


So my house has recently become a wildlife refuge.  We have a chipmunk couple living in the backyard inside a hollowed out railroad crosstie.  They’re so cute!








The most recent excitement, though, was about a family of birds that built a nest on the wreath on our front door.  Initially, I thought the mom was stealing twigs and stuff off the wreath to pad the nest she was presumably building in a nearby tree, but I soon realized that she had actually built the nest ON the wreath.  She didn’t want her babies to get wet, I guess!  The day that I finally figured out that she’d built the nest there, this is what I saw:

Consulting my Birds of Tennessee book, I learned that the parents were House Finches.  These birds commonly build nests in wreaths and potted plants around houses.  The father has a bright red chest and head, and the mother is brown with a white, speckled chest.  While she incubates the eggs, her mate brings her food so that she doesn’t have to leave the nest.  My, was she diligent at keeping those little eggs warm!  A few days later when I checked the nest, there were five speckled eggs in there!  Notice how she lined the nest with animal hair and even a piece of plastic netting.  Quite the architect, she is!  So about a week and a half later, I was walking up the front steps and saw a cracked egg laying on the ground.  Want to venture a guess what was in the nest now? 










I’m all about the wonder of nature, but boy those things are ugly when they’re young!  What was so sweet about it was how the parents kept a constant watch over their babies.  We knew when they were feeding them, because every so often we could hear (through the door) the babies chirping their little heads off, then the mother would fly back to the roof to sit with her mate, keeping a close watch over the nest.











After another 5 days or so, I started to notice poop on the door and all around the nest.  As you may know, our house is for sale, and a poop covered door isn’t the most lovely first impression for potential buyer!


I was off work Friday and had planned to take the wreath off and clean the poop from around the nest and door.  I couldn’t bear to remove the nest, so cleaning up the poop was my best option.  Well, when I opened the door, all the babies flew out!  I had no idea they’d learned to fly!  Mom and Dad must’ve been teaching them during the day while we were at work.  After a call to our county’s agriculture extension office, I was told that they’d be fine to live outside the nest, so I took the wreath down and removed the poop covered nest.  Now our door is fresh and clean, and I’m done being a foster parent to the baby birds!  I will miss watching them develop, though, and seeing their parents sweetly watch over them.  My cat will, too.

“Thanks a lot for running off the birds, Mom.”


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