I went to get the newspaper this morning, with a rueful glance at the hanging basket. I gave it a small tap, in homage of what might have been: four little finch chicks.
Then I saw – and heard – the mother finch. She swooped from a nearby tree to the fence below the front porch, chirping at me as noisily as she ever did. Was I ever pleased to see her! At least she was still around and hadn’t abandoned her nest, even though her eggs probably weren’t going to hatch. But, I wondered, why was she still around? Had she still not realized that there were no babies? Or – or – wait a minute! Was that something in her beak? Something that a chick might eat? A chick that had actually hatched?
My fear of what I might see was suddenly overcome by wild hope. I had to look in that basket.
Heart pounding, I gingerly took down the hanging basket. The mother finch chattered at me even louder, and made a couple of half-lunges towards me. Holding my breath, I carefully parted some begonia leaves. Her nattering got even more frantic, and she dived at me again. I ignored her, and spotted at least two wee fuzzy brown heads in the tiny nest, with one set of beady birdy eyes looking right at me. I quickly replaced the hanging basket and dashed back into the house, closing the front door carefully.
I ran up the stairs, shouting at DD. “BABIES! There’s BABIES!”
DD was just as excited, and clattered downstairs with her phone, ready to take photos of the baby birds. But we decided not to disturb the nest again today – thereby also avoiding being deafened and divebombed by the mother finch. Maybe we’ll try to get some photos in a couple of days.
I don’t know exactly how many babies there are yet, nor when they actually hatched. I don’t know why they are so quiet, either. But I do know that I am extremely relieved that they are there in that hanging basket and that I was worrying the other day for absolutely nothing.
Oh, silly me.
So – about the bird nest in my hanging basket at my front door … I’m a little worried. There doesn’t seem to be any action there at all. Even the mother finch hasn’t been around for a couple of days. I saw and heard her chirping up a storm while sitting on the fence two or three days ago, but nothing since then. Either the babies had already hatched and had left the nest during the past two weeks without me noticing (I may not be the most observant person in the world, but THAT I would have noticed, I’m sure), or else something happened to the eggs and they’re not going to hatch and the mother has taken off to nest elsewhere (sadly, more likely).
What if that “something that happened to the eggs” was ME? What if I watered the basket too much and the eggs DROWNED? I didn’t water much at all, only three times at the most and then just a wee trickle of water until the finch flew out of the basket and nattered angrily at me from the fence. But what if even that was TOO MUCH?
Or what if people coming and going at my front door finally frazzled the finch right out and she gave up and just ABANDONED her nest? That’s not exactly my fault, since if she had asked me my opinion prior, I would certainly have told her to build her nest elsewhere, that my front door is a high traffic zone and not exactly conducive to raising baby birds. Still, although it was a done deal by the time I figured out what was going on, I did intend to make the best of the situation and was actually looking forward to the baby finches (finchlings? finchettes?).
Could a crow or a cat have gotten to the nest? I don’t think so, as I’m pretty sure I would have seen some evidence, like scattered leaves or – gulp! – pieces of eggshell or – bigger gulp! – pieces of bird. I know that’s the way of nature and all, and that it probably didn’t even happen, given the total lack of shrapnel, but it’s upsetting to think about, especially when the action is at my front door.
Regardless, it now appears that I will not be the baby finches’ godmother after all, as it appears that they will not hatch. I may be worrying for absolutely nothing, but I’m scared to look in the basket to find out for sure. Maybe DD or PG will do it for me. I don’t think I have the stomach for it.
I just checked the hanging basket at my front door that has become the home of a noisy little finch. There are now eggs. Four wee brownish eggs. This finch is an expectant mother.
It is apparently very bad to move a nest with eggs in it.
There will soon be even noisier baby finches along with their noisy mother – who may start divebombing anyone who approaches my front door in order to protect her offspring.
There will be birdcrap in and around my hanging basket and on my front porch. True, finches are tiny, but crap is crap, even if it isn’t copious amounts of the stuff.
And worst of all, it’s soon going to be REALLY difficult to water that basket.
(But DD and I will get to be godmothers to four little babies. That’s gotta count for something, don’t you think?)