Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Baby Backyard Birds
The past few summers in our backyard we've filled up four bird feeders. They attract mostly common house finches, but we also see yellow bellied finches, grackle heads (or blackbirds), magpies, chickadees, bushtits, sometimes woodpeckers, and occasionally something new. We get other mammals such as squirrels, rabbits and once we even saw a raccoon. This summer a family of house finches built their nest underneath the support bars of our electric awning and right above our door. Today during a heavy afternoon thunderstorm we (my brother, sister and I) were looking out our sliding glass door when a tiny finch came careening down from the nest and gathered itself wearily on the patio below. Before we had time to think about what to do finch number two flapped clumsily down. By then my dad had heavy duty gardening gloves on and was ready for action with an old cardboard box in hand. As he stepped out the door the smallest finch came fluttering down with a small thud. "And there's number three" my dad exclaimed in a calm tone. In less than a minute my dad had each finch expertly cared for in the cardboard box. From there my mom took over.We watched as the mom and dad finch flew gracefully in to their nest and realized their babies were gone they shot out of the awing in a flurry of panic and feathers. I felt really bad to have their babies in the box. We backed off for a while to see if mom and dad would come to the rescue without us needing to help more. No such luck. One baby bird squecked and wedged it's disproportionate body through the cut out handle/air hole of the box instead of going out the top. Mama and papa finch immediately swooped in to try and regain their baby. This went on all afternoon. One baby out, mom and dad swoop in stand by for a few seconds, then they'd fly back to the closest tree. At one time mom was on one side of the yard with one baby and dad would have the other side with baby number two. All the while we kept a watchful eye over things. When mom and dad left we thought they were gone for good. We scooped up both babies using a kitchen towel and put them back into their box which now was/is fashioned to look like a nest. It is complete with a brown dish towel in the bottom, sticks and twigs running every which way and completely bedded with dried, but moist from the rain grass. Later in the evening, mom and dad came back and the bigger two babies hopped out and went away while we were eating dinner. I have no idea where they are and am worried about them. For now I am directing my attention to the last finch in hopes that the mom and dad come back. I gave him some bird seed and he has shelter in the box. In the event that they do not return I will help my family nurse the last finch until it is strong enough to survive on its own.